From complying with the Paris Climate Agreement’s net zero (human induced) greenhouse gas emissions commitment, to the circular and regenerative use of nutrients and soil, as described in the (Netherlands) National Raw Materials Agreement, the Dutch agricultural sector faces significant challenges on the road to meeting its long-term goals for sustainable food production. Over time, the sector needs to shift towards a production system with a neutral or positive impact on climate, soils, water and biodiversity. Current studies focus on specific areas or disciplines and aim to reduce negative impacts, but we are lacking research that takes an integrated systems perspective, with the aim of achieving positive impacts.
Seeing this need for a systems approach, TiFN defined the project as a key direction in its research strategy for the coming years. We have brought together eight research and industry partners who are committed to investing in this challenging project. The project has five work packages: these include creating an integrated, contextual outline for a revised Dutch agricultural production system (by 2050); co-creating – together with arable farmers and dairy farmers – best practices in regenerative production, and shaping robust, quantified scenarios for transitioning to a regenerative production system at a national scale. Based on a thorough analysis of the technological, social, economic and policy barriers between the existing system and a regenerative system, actionable transition scenarios will be developed that can bridge the think-do gap.