Jean-François Déchant, who lived as an expatriate in the United States for many years, warns of the repeated droughts affecting the American continent.

On both sides of the Atlantic, the chronic lack of water for crops is a direct threat to global food security, if we hope to cultivate a future where abundance coexists harmoniously with the preservation of our planet, we must act take urgent action, warns Déchant, CEO and Co-Founder of Elicit Plant.

In a constantly changing world, the crucial question of access to water looks set to be one of the major challenges of the coming century. Without indulging in doom and gloom, there is cause for concern. Day after day, global warming is contributing to a significant decline in freshwater reserves. Degradation of Arctic sea ice, thawing permafrost, and accelerated glacier melt are all phenomena limiting access to the vital resource water, alerted glaciologist Heidi Sevestre, guest of honor at the International Climate Change Prevention Day organized by Elicit Plant last September.

Among the many sectors called upon to adapt to today’s unprecedented climate change is agriculture as a priority – in France, Europe and all major exporting countries. The United States, where I lived for many years, has been hit hard by repeated droughts and heatwaves. The situation there is a striking example. In the Corn Belt and Great Plains, from Alberta to Texas (regions with a reputation for being among the most fertile), rising temperatures are compounded by episodes of intense drought, impacting yields a little more each year.

The consequences of this reality reveal the fragility of a farming system dependent on an increasingly capricious resource. Crop variety improvement has enabled the creation of plants better able to cope with lack of water, but yield performance is not guaranteed. And genetic selection involves up to ten years of research before each market launch. Irrigation is also now called into question on a regular basis, and is the subject of new conflicts of use.

On both sides of the Atlantic, the chronic lack of water for crops is already a real challenge. The time has come for our farming to adapt to this ‘new climate deal’ and redefine its relationship with water. If nothing is done, the stability of world food supplies will be affected. If we hope to cultivate a future where abundance coexists harmoniously with the preservation of our planet, we must act take urgent action by federating all stakeholders in the agricultural ecosystem.

During the International Climate Change Prevention Day at Elicit Plant, we had the pleasure of welcoming two American leaders with over 30 years’ experience in the field of biological solutions for agriculture. Pam Marrone and Mark Trimmer are respectively experts in biotechnological innovation and naturally-derived plant protection products. Both were adamant that innovation is an integral part of the solution. All the more so since, according to Mark Trimmer, the phytopharmaceutical industry has so far focused more on biotic stress to combat climate change in agriculture. As a result, the two main practices in the US – irrigation and varietal selection – are still not sufficiently effective in combating water shortage.

This observation is shared by Pam Marrone, who points out that there are still too few companies focusing on plant-based water resource management, unlike Elicit Plant, whose approach is fundamentally based on this principle. Our innovation uses the unique properties of phytosterols, which boost plants’ natural defenses when faced with stress, particularly abiotic stress. This helps the plant to prepare itself and preserve its resources by consuming less water, thus limiting the effects of drought. Elicit Plant’s products are unique on the market in the way they work, as the two experts emphasized at the Climate Change Prevention Day and at the previous edition of World Agri Tech. Both also reiterated their enthusiasm for the results achieved.

Jean-François will be speaking at World Agri-Tech San Francisco this March 19-20. Book now to connect with him and the Elicit Plant team at the summit. 

Content provided by Elicit Plant and is not written by the World Agri-Tech editorial team. For more information on this article, please contact Elicit Plant.