The ‘European Joint Programme on Agricultural Soil Management’, or EJP SOIL in short, started on 1 February 2020. This week the kick-off meeting is taking place in Orleans, France. Results of the EJP SOIL can help improve agricultural soil management all over Europe and make it sustainable at the same time. It will be part of the efforts needed to tackle major societal challenges, like food security and adaptation to climate change.
EJP SOIL is jointly coordinated by INRAE from France and Wageningen University & Research. The main objective of the programme is to align forces in European soil research. This is necessary in order to enhance sustainable soil management, contribute to key societal challenges like food security, sustainable agricultural production, climate adaptation and mitigation and conservation of biodiversity.
Within EJP SOIL a so-called ‘roadmap’ will be developed, a knowledge agenda for climate-smart and sustainable agricultural soil management. The roadmap has four components:
- Knowledge development via integrated research projects in Europe.
- Knowledge sharing and -transfer through educating young scientists, enhancing general public awareness and fostering societal understanding and appreciation of agricultural soil management
- Knowledge harmonization of storage, organisation and reporting of soil data.
- Knowledge transfer to farmers by, among others, joint development of advisory systems.
Dutch research in European framework
In EJP SOIL, European soil research will be connected with Dutch soil research. The programme sets Dutch soil research in a European framework and will reinforce the Dutch efforts. Via workshops with stakeholders during this year, the ambitions in the Netherlands, the required knowledge and actions to be taken are to be collected for inclusion in the new roadmap.
Proper soil management
Saskia Visser is the programme leader on behalf of WUR: “Soils play an important role in many societal issues, but good soil management is a complex case. By concentrating all existing knowledge in Europe, we can make great progress in knowledge development and application.”
Janjo de Haan, responsible for communication in the Netherlands in EJP SOIL, adds: “This programme will also generate new knowledge and tools for Dutch farmers, for them to improve their soil management with. This contributes to the ambition of Minister Schouten, that is that agricultural soils all over the Netherlands are to be sustainably managed by 2030”.
80 million euro
The consortium has 26 partner institutes from 21 EU-countries and Norway, Iceland and Turkey. The Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Fisheries (LNV) is the owner of the programme for the Netherlands. Like other Member States of the EU, the Ministry will co-fund the implementation. WUR has been appointed by LNV as the national programme manager. The programme has a term of 5 years. Total funding amounts to 80 million, of which 40 million from the European Union and 40 million from the Member States themselves.