AXA Climate launches first tool to measure the impact of climate change on crop production

By Dela Ahiawor

With this innovative digital platform, AXA Climate is supporting  stakeholders in the food-processing industry – such as the Bonduelle Group – in making their operations more sustainable in response to climate change.  

Assessing the risk

Through building on data from the latest IPCC report, Altitude makes it possible to measure the climate risk affecting crop production by 2030 and 2050 by taking into account the specific local conditions of farming and the types of soil and crops used. In particular, it predicts the water requirements of crops, measures the impact of water scarcity and specific climate hazards on crop yields, and tests various adaptation scenarios.

Developing a strategy for adapting

Altitude also enables the most effective adaptation measures to put in place to be identified based on the attributes of the system of production, including a more resilient selection of crop varieties, offsetting periods of production, improvements to the quality of soil, or optimising the irrigation process. The tool additionally identifies the geographic production areas that are most suitable for cultivation of a given crop variety.

Lastly, Altitude simulates changes in yields and the financial room for manoeuvre of the farm operator depending on the adaptation scenario, and is able to show optimum crop rotation models under future climate conditions.

The peas model

In 2021, after several seasons of peas being below production targets, the Bonduelle Hauts-de-France Agriculture department and growers from the region called on AXA Climate to carry out a study on the industry’s understanding of the climate trends at work and the identification of adaptive solutions to be put in place within affected crop areas.

This study facilitated:

–          the identification of which climate scenarios were unfavourable for peas

–          changes in climate to be projected from one area to another by 2030 and 2050

–   the launch of adaptation initiatives for affected areas, especially through offsetting periods of production. Following on from this work, which was carried out with a commitment to safeguard farmers’ businesses, a new initiative emerged – the development of a climate forward-planning tool, Altitude Agriculture.

’Altitude is a useful tool to characterise and assess the current and future climate risks facing crops. It is a valuable resource for identifying the adaptive measures to put in place’’, explains Arnaud Bardon Debats, the Bonduelle Group’s Director of Agronomic Performance.

‘’In response to climate change and its increasingly serious consequences, Altitude is a genuine decision-making support tool, based upon solid scientific data. There is no doubt that it’s the type of initiative which the agricultural sector will need to seize in order to address the changes which lie ahead’’, explains Lucile Dauger, an agronomist and agricultural transition expert at AXA Climate. ‘’It allows those working within agriculture to accurately measure their farm’s exposure to climate risks and simulate various adaptive measures in order to pinpoint the strategy which they believe is the most optimal one for them.’’

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