25/10/2022

Organic movement responds to public consultation on Soil Health Law 

Soil health is a cornerstone of organic farming and common organic farming practices improve actively soil quality. Healthy soils are fundamental to produce nutritious and sustainable food and deliver a wide range of ecosystem services such as water purification and carbon sequestration.  

The organic movement welcomes the European Commission’s initiative to develop a soil health law. Farmland soils must be kept in good state or restored to fulfil their function of producing healthy food. As intensive agriculture is one of the main drivers for soil deterioration, legally binding action and a holistic approach at EU are crucial to restore and protect Europe’s soils and make sustainable soil use the norm.  

As IFOAM Organics Europe, we replied to the public consultation in which the Commission asked for input from stakeholders. These are our main demands: 

Recognize organic farming’s benefits for soil health and define it as sustainable soil management practice: The holistic and systemic approach of organic farming and its variety of practices sustain important soil functions and deliver on environmental benefits. The multiple positive effects that organic farming has on soil health and soil functions should be recognized within the legislative proposal and be recognized as sustainable soil management. 

Contribution to Farm to Fork targets and ensure policy coherence: IFOAM Organics Europe urges the Commission to ensure the Soil Health Law delivers on the implementation of soil-related targets from the Farm to Fork Strategy. Namely the reduction of synthetic fertiliser use by at least 20% and the reduction of nutrient losses by at least 50% and to support the objective of at least 25% of the EU’s agricultural land under organic farming by 2030. 

Incentivise farmers in adopting more sustainable soil management practices: Approaches such as organic farming, agroforestry and other agroecological approaches have proven efficient for restoring degraded land and soil-associated ecosystem functions and should be incentivized. Training and advice also have a major role to play, and farm advisory services (FAS) must be strengthened in this regard. 

Read our full contribution to public consultation on the Soil Health Law to find out more about the organic sector’s view. 

For more information on soil and IFOAM Organics Europe’s work on this issue, please contact hanna.winkler@organicseurope.bio. IFOAM Organics Europe members can find more information on the member extranet and background materials in the arguments database on the member extranet (main messages, arguments/FAQs, visuals & videos). Contact membership@organicseurope.bio for access rights (issues). 

The work of IFOAM Organics Europe on this topic is co-financed by the LIFE programme of the European Union, under the Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency (CINEA). This page only reflects the views of the authors and its sole responsibility lies with IFOAM Organics Europe. The CINEA is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information provided.

 
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