Soil Health Impact Coalition

Soil Health is a growing concern for farmers and other value chain actors in all parts of the world. In 2021, soils were high on the agenda at the UN Food Systems Summit, which inspired the formation of a global ‘Coalition of Action for Soil Health (CA4SH)’. In early 2022, the concern was addressed by the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA), resulting in 68 Ministers of Agriculture signing a Communiqué “Sustainable Land Use: Food Security Starts with the Soil”, a commitment to take action to promote soil health through a comprehensive multifaceted agenda.

Connected to these global policy debates, a group of Dutch stakeholders with different backgrounds - development organisations, private sector and research, are exploring the opportunities for a collaborative effort in specific countries within Africa. Their ambition is to foster collaboration between African partners in their network in selected countries, linking the relevant national, Dutch or other international experts to those, and jointly generate more synergy, implementation power, and impact on the ground in view of improved farming and food systems resilience.

Working priorities for 2022

  • Specific country-based actions for soil health will have been defined and started, based on an approach to clarify demand in the country and on a collaborative effort to build joint action on that basis.
    • Ghana
    • Ethiopia
    • Two countries to be determined.

The country-based actions are expected to build on, and to contribute to existing programmes and investments, raising their quality and effectiveness through a collaborative and systemic approach to enhance soil health.

  • Country based stakeholders’ demand for knowledge sharing and expertise will have been met using the coalitions’ members expertise, the synergies that can be created via their collaboration, and the national and international network they are connected to.
  • Specific global activities of the Dutch based soils expert organisations and companies support the quality of each of these members in their work at national level, and have a positive contribution to the global policy debate on soils.

Common vision on soil health

The work of this coalition is based on a common vision on soil health, which provides a basis for the joint work and for creating synergies. It is still under development, and it builds on the first ideas developed by the initiators of the coalition, IFDC and 2Scale, as well as on the stakeholders’ exchanges during 2021. A few key elements of this common vision are:

To advance soil health, starting points at farm level are:

  • Integrated Soil Fertility Management (ISFM)
  • Good Agricultural Practices (GAP)
  • Circularity principles applied in practice
  • Effective farmer entrepreneurship
  • Sustainable access to knowledge, finance, land

To advance soil health, interventions at the agrifood system level are:

  • Investment in soil health (both short- and long-term, bridging time and spatial lapses between investment by farmer and receipt of extra income)
  • Value chain to contribute to soil health (pricing, standards, logistics)
  • Policy frameworks that advance soil health
  • Data system to support the above
  • Systemic analysis of soil health bottlenecks as basis to choose effective leverage points

Start from demand

  • Assessment of the demand for collaboration is essential:
  • to engage in a dialogue with target country/region about innovative/novel approaches
  • to match “supply”
  • Criteria for selecting (LMIC) country/region: based on partner survey mid 2021.
  • Determine state-of art current soils-related activities and drivers
  • Identify knowledge base, structure and education
  • Identify financial commitments, engagement of financial institutions

Linking up with relevant global initiatives on soil health

  • Alignment, coordination, cooperation when relevant for impact.
  • Pragmatic approach, focus on action on the ground.
  • Policy gaps identified at country level may be taken to international level.
  • Alignment and partnership with international networks of FAO, GSP, CA4SH when relevant.

Interest in coalition expressed by

Interested in joining this Collective Impact Coalition?


Nicole Metz.jpg

Nicole Metz

Netherlands Food Partnership