The European Commission awards the "LIFE + Agricarbon" project as the best project of the year for its contribution to the fight against Climate Change

The Spanish project Sustainable Agriculture in Carbon Arithmetic (LIFE + Agricarbon) has received the prize "Best of the Best" in Brussels (Belgium), after being voted by the European Commission and the Member States of the European Union.

The LIFE + Agricarbon project, presented and led by Spain, has been one of the nine European projects which have been awarded the title "Best LIFE project", the first in the category of Climate Action, the other two categories are Nature and Biodiversity and Environment. This was announced at the EU Green Week, the biggest environmental event in Europe, where the Environment Commissioner, Karmenu Vella, announced the winners of the 2016 and 2017 LIFE Awards.

From 62 finalists only nine have been recognized as "Best of the Best", and made in countries such as Belgium, Greece, Italy, Austria, Poland, Slovakia and Spain. All winning projects have been chosen for their contribution to environmental, economic and social improvements in Europe, paying special attention to their innovation, replicability, relevance to policy and profitability. LIFE is the EU's financial instrument that finances environmental, nature conservation and climate projects throughout the European Union.

LIFE + Agricarbon project has been coordinated by the Spanish Association for Conservation Agriculture. Living Soils (AEACSV). University of Córdoba through the ETSIAM, the Andalusian Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IFAPA) of Córdoba and the European Conservation Agriculture Federation (ECAF) have participated in it as beneficiaries. The budget for this project was almost 2.7 million euros, of which 1.2 have been financed by the European Union.

LIFE + Agricarbon project has been used to develop and demonstrate sustainable agricultural systems, based on Conservation Agriculture, in combination with precision management techniques. The Conservation Agriculture is based on producing a minimum alteration of the soil while tilling, maintaining a permanent cover that avoids its erosion, and using crop rotation technique to increase the biodiversity. On the other hand, Precision Agriculture promotes a more efficient use of energy thanks to the use of tractor guidance aids and variable application techniques. Both techniques have increased energy efficiency and productivity and achieved overall energy savings of 18%.

Thanks to the use of Conservation Agriculture, CO2 has been captured from the atmosphere, increasing soil carbon by up to 60%, compared to conventional agriculture. The project has also shown that environmentally friendly techniques are no less productive than conventional ones and that Conservation Agriculture saves farmers' costs, estimated at € 60 per hectare on average. The importance of the LIFE + Agricarbon project can be summarized in one sentence: it has been shown that, thanks to Conservation Agriculture, the CO2 emissions of more than one million European citizens have been compensated.

Besides the mentioned prize, it was awarded the XVII Andalusian Environment Prize, as the best project on climate change and presented as a success case in the United Nations Environment Program.