(Frick, 5.11.2015) It provides us with food, it cannot be reproduced and should not become an object of speculation – that is why agricultural soil must receive better protection. Federal Councillor Johann N. Schneider-Ammann (Switzerland), Christian Schmidt, Minister of Food and Agriculture (Germany), Fernand Etgen, Minister of Agriculture, Viticulture and Consumer Protection (Luxembourg) and Christa Bauer of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management (Austria) agree on this point. On the occasion of the ministers’ meeting at FiBL on 29 October, they further discussed the implementation of the goals mentioned in the 2014 communiqué (see link below).
Organic agriculture increases soil fertility
After the meeting of the ministers of agriculture, the delegations were shown several advantages of organic agriculture during the tour. Organic agriculture increases soil fertility, which has been proven in the long-term DOK trial performed by FiBL and Agroscope. A meta-analysis by FiBL came to the conclusion that organic soil contains more humus than conventional soil. An experiment conducted on the FiBL farm showed that, when organic farming is combined with reduced tillage, humus increased by 24% over the course of a decade compared to tilled earth. Apart from humus, there has been a 34% increase in microorganisms and a 67% increase of earthworms over the years in reduced tillage systems. Due to the build-up of humus, a more active soil life and an improved water regulation, there is a potential for more stable yields. At the same time, the soil is protected from water and wind erosion.
Fernand Etgen, who is also President of the Council of Ministers for Agriculture of the European Union, concluded the tour through the institute with the following statement: “The research carried out at FiBL adheres to high scientific standards and at the same time never loses touch with the practical side. I have never seen anything like it.”
- Paul Mäder, Department of Soil Sciences, Head of Department
- Questions concerning the media conference of the ministers of agriculture:
Evelyn Kobelt, Spokeswoman for the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research EAER, phone +41 (0)58 462 20 59, mobile +41 (0)79 301 71 72, E-Mail: evelyn.kobelt(at)gs-wbf.admin.ch
- fibl.org: Tour of the Ministers of Agriculture: FiBL expertise on topic of soil (German)
- news.admin.ch: 2014 Communiqué of the Ministers of Agriculture
- fibl.org: Department of Soil Sciences