Sustainable soil management: agriculture ministers reach a concensus


The annual Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (the GFFA) was held on 28 January in Berlin. The topic of this year was "Sustainable Land Use: Food Security Starts with the Soil". 68 ministers of agriculture agreed to follow important recommendations on how to make farming and soil management sustainable, outlined in this communiqué, made by a panel of experts. Qu Dongyu, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) spoke to the ministers: "Reversing soil degradation is vital if we want to feed a growing global population, protect biodiversity, and help address the planet's climate crisis."

As much as 95 percent of global food production depends on soil. Soil degradation is a global problem that poses a threat to food security. On degraded soils, crops cannot grow well, or at all. Soils are degraded by unsustainable agricultural practices, the overexploitation of natural resources and a growing population. Main soil problems are soil pollution, soil erosion, and soil salinization. Protecting soils is imperative, soils can be our ally in reducing the effects of climate change, because they are the second largest carbon sink on earth, besides the ocean. Soils do indeed capture and hold even more carbon than forests do.

The goal of the 2022 GFFA was to provide key impetus and promote international exchange. The four core questions were:

  • How can we improve soil protection?
  • How can we restore degraded soils?
  • How can we make the use of finite land resources more sustainable?
  • How can farmers worldwide get fair access to land?

Read the answers in the background paper of the GFFA. 

The communiqué on how to sustainably manage soils was agreed upon by the ministers. Qu says that the communiqué is "a reflection of your commitment to healthy soils, including protecting agricultural land through tenure security," FAO pledges to help facilitate its implementation. FAO, including through the Global Soil partnership, pledged to commit to healthy soils and to supporting sustainable soil management at all levels for better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life for all, leaving no one behind."


Did your country participate? Check the country list at the end of the Communiqué! Keep checking whether your Ministry of Agriculture is doing what they are saying! 


14th Berlin Agriculture, Ministers' Conference, Final Communiqué 2022: Sustainable Land Use: Food Security Starts with the Soil.

Healthy soils for a healthy people and planet: FAO calls for reversal of soil degradation.

sustainable soil management, global food and agriculture forum, food production, sustainable soil use

Article by Kathelijne Bonne, geologist and soil scientist. 

Good Climate News is an initiative by the Bonne sisters from Belgium: Elisabeth, Helena and Kathelijne. "We believe in the power of good news".

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