Altia continues its collaboration with the Baltic Sea Action Group by renewing its Baltic Sea commitment. As part of the commitment Altia will provide training in regenerative farming practices to all of its contract farmers. Altia is a major buyer of barley in Finland and with this commitment Altia wants to support the adoption of more environmentally friendly farming practices.
Altia has worked with the Baltic Sea Action Group (BSAG) already for five years. The updated commitment extends Altia’s objectives and introduces new tools for promoting regenerative agriculture.
In 2018, as part of its Baltic Sea Commitment, Altia joined BSAG’s Carbon Action pilot project together with selected contract farmers. The contract farmers participated in the pilot by reserving parts of their fields for research on the effects farming practices have on soil. Altia handled the cost of the soil sample analyses and committed to communicating about Carbon Action to its farmers and other stakeholders. In the winter of 2020, a very successful event on carbon farming was organized for Altia’s contract farmers.
In its expanded commitment, Altia will investigate how the best practices of regenerative farming could be integrated into its purchasing criteria by 2025. Altia will provide training in regenerative farming practices to its contract farmers – the aim is that all Altia’s contact farmers would have completed the training by 2025. Altia also supports BSAG’s work with annual donations.
“Bringing regenerative farming into purchasing criteria and at the same time providing training to support contract farmers is ambitious practical work, even among responsible companies,” says Michaela Ramm-Schmidt, CEO of BSAG.
In addition to food production, regenerative agriculture improves soil health, increases carbon stocks, supports biodiversity and reduces nutrient runoffs that cause water eutrophication. Regenerative farming can also increase yields, creating financial benefits for farmers from this important environmental work.
“Altia buys over 200 million kilos of Finnish barley from about 1,500 farms annually, so it’s clear that the impact will be significant if we’re able to support our farmers in improving soil health and its resilience to extreme weather,” says Kari Kiltilä, Altia’s Category Sourcing Manager. “Climate change cannot be stopped in Finland’s fields alone but doing our own share of the work and setting a good example for others is still important. And the effects on the local environment can be significant”, Kiltilä continues.
“This co-operation with Altia is important to us. It clearly shows how every stakeholder in the food system can make a difference. For us it’s important that food producer work together with the primary producers and understand that in the long run, both will benefit”, says Michaela Ramm-Schmidt. “The Baltic Sea is our end customer, and in climate actions that affect the soil, the sea benefits both from nutrient-retaining fields and, ultimately, from actions that mitigate climate change”, says Ramm-Schmidt.