The UN General Assembly has declared 2015 the International Year of Soils. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), about one third of all soils are degraded due to erosion, compaction, soil organic matter and nutrient depletion, pollution and other processes caused by unsustainable land management practices. The incessant use of harmful fertilizers, which is not meeting expectations to increase yield, is accelerating this process.

Unlike chemical-based agriculture, Organic Agriculture does not use soil-destroying inputs but stimulates soil organisms and improves soil fertility. It helps farmers adapt to climate change because it prevents nutrient and water loss through high organic matter content and soil covers, thus making soils more resilient to floods, droughts and land degradation processes. Healthy soil is a key ingredient to preserving biodiversity and growing nutritious food.

We therefore call on donor and development agencies such as FAO, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the World Bank and the Green Climate Fund to develop Organic Agriculture programs based on outreach, awareness and best practices, especially in regions sensitive to climate change.

Soil is one of nature’s most complex ecosystems and one of the most diverse habitats on earth. Mother Earth needs 1,000 years to generate three centimeters of topsoil. Organic Agriculture does not use chemicals that degrade soil but works with nature to build and maintain both soil health and fertility. Supporting Organic Agriculture means supporting Mother Earth and healthy soils.