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.
Soil Health Impact Coalition
Soil Health is a growing concern for farmers and other value chain actors in all parts of the world. Soils provide 95% of the food we eat, are the largest terrestrial reservoir of carbon, and host up to a quarter of the planet’s biodiversity (FAO, 2021). Despite this, 33% of the Earth’s soils are already degraded and over 90% could become degraded by 2050 (FAO and ITPS, 2015; IPBES, 2018) - a trend accelerated by unsustainable agricultural practices. Soils were high on the agenda at the 2021 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.
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. Underpinning the common vision is that collaboration and action should be needs-based: engaging with target countries about innovative/novel approaches is essential. Furthermore, alignment with relevant global initiatives and international networks like FAO, GSP, and CA4SH is needed to scale own interventions.
Zooming in, to advance soil health, starting points at farm level include Integrated Soil Fertility Management (ISFM), Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), and sustainable access to knowledge, finance, and land. Interventions on an agrifood system level include value chain improvements (on pricing, standards, and logistics), and the development of policy frameworks and supporting data systems that advance soil health.
In recognition of the importance of soil health, a group of Dutch stakeholders with different backgrounds – development organisations, private sector and research - are now exploring opportunities for a collaborative effort with partners in specific countries. Their ambition is to foster collaboration between partners in their network, linking the relevant national, Dutch or international experts to those, and jointly generating more impact on the ground in view of improved farming and food systems resilience.
The Netherlands has a large body of actors working on soils with partners in different parts of the world - each within their own area of expertise and with their specific approaches and relations. Linking these different experiences, knowledge and expertise enhances actors' ability to develop interventions at scale for soil health.
Our partners' areas of expertise include: agronomic practices; database systems; remote/close sensing; soil-water integration; recycling and circularity; value chain and sector development. All partners work from a food systems perspective on soil health, in view of contributing to innovative solutions that work both on technical aspects of soil health and on related economic and social aspects.
To connect Dutch expertise to global initiatives for healthy soils, the partnership invests in specific joint action with international partners as building blocks for systemic soil interventions. Our joint action is aligned and often co-developed with international partners, such as the Coalition of Action 4 Soil Health (CA4SH),
the Global Soil Partnership (GSP), and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). Country members of FAO or GSP may be specific partners. But in the end, we partner with anyone working to improve soil health.
Currently, NFP and partners are currently mapping the needs for soil health interventions in Ghana, Ethiopia, and are investigating other opportunities in West Africa and South-East Asia. After this phase, partners intend to take action together within specific countries that build on, and to contribute to existing programmes and investments.
Find out more about our action in 2022 checking out our ‘related pages’ below.
..and more following soon!