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Sustainable agriculture: a long-term commitment

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Committed to the agricultural sector since it was founded, CNR was entrusted with the mission of developing irrigation by the government. It now works in collaboration with actors in the sector to assist them in their indispensable adaptation to climate change and in the necessary sharing of water resources. The main key to both challenges is innovation.

Of the three missions that the government entrusted to CNR when giving it the Rhone concession, the irrigation of farmland was a considerable challenge. In addition to building its hydropower installations, CNR built forty water intakes to irrigate the farms of the Rhone Valley. CNR has since strengthened its commitment to lasting and responsible agriculture through its Missions in the General Interest.

The water of the Rhone: a resource that must be preserved together

Confronted by climate change, the experts are clear: from now to 2050, there will be less water in the Rhone, with an estimated 10 to 40% fall in its discharge according to the studies performed. The majestic river is not inexhaustible. Faced with this reality, CNR works with its partners to help the agricultural sector to face this inevitable change, better consider water and use it efficiently: withdraw it when doing so does not harm another activity, prefer crops more thrifty with water, etc. For example, CNR is a partner of the Salon Tech et Bio and Med’Agri, shows based on innovation in the agricultural sector, in view to finding sustainable solutions.

CNR and the agricultural sector: two strategic partnerships for three themes

Motivated to work in close collaboration with the agricultural sector, CNR has signed framework agreements with the Chambers of Agriculture of Rhône-Alpes, represented by the Regional Chamber of Agriculture, the Institut Supérieur d’Agriculture Rhône-Alpes and the Chambers of Agriculture of Bouches-du-Rhône, Gard and Vaucluse.

For what end? To promote agriculture of high economic and environmental value in the Rhone Valley.
These partnerships focus on three main themes:

  • Water: optimise resource use
  • Energy: economise and produce renewable electricity (agri-voltaic systems)
  • Soil and biodiversity: develop new agro-ecological systems.

CNR supports innovative agricultural techniques

Thanks to its close collaboration with the Chambers of Agriculture, CNR is a partner in several projects:

  • The experimental platform dedicated to Alternative and Organic Techniques and plant cover demonstrators (Drôme);
  • Irrigation of the territory “Hauts de Provence Rhodanienne” which is short of water (Vaucluse);
  • Reducing the exposure of farms to the floods of the Rhone (Ardèche, Bouches-du-Rhône, Gard and Vaucluse).

Furthermore, CNR also works with the Institut supérieur d’agriculture Rhône-Alpes (ISARA) with which it has developed the following actions:

  • “Biodiv +, conserving biodiversité by and for agriculture”, a programme for analysing the role played by auxiliary organisms in crops;
  • Drafting practical guides on the plantation of hedges, and on plant cover with the support of the Chamber of Agriculture of Drôme;
  • The Perennial cereals programme: new cultivars of cereals and fodder that require less water and phytosanitary products.

CNR, a force for proposals and action

On its own initiative, CNR has organised actions in favour of sustainable agriculture:

  • It is committed to preserving bees with 3,000 ruches (exploited by 40 bee keepers) installed on the land managed by CNR, and the installation of pedagogic hives.
  • The exploitation of 450 hectares of the concession by farmers in the valley specialised in crops.
  • The pastoral maintenance of 870 hectares on dikes by sheep, goats, cattle, donkeys and horses.
  • The use of zero phytosanitary products on its concession.
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