Gardening

Soil Science

Farmers Pride International has joined hands with the  Global 4/1000 Initiative on Soils and Food Security and hopes to become its representative in Southern Africa. We have taken this decision as we see it as essential to prepare for the next generation of interdisciplinary soil scientists. Only with adequate investment in soil science will the world have the workforce (educators, researchers, and land managers) necessary to safeguard this irreplaceable resource and ensure ecosystem health as well as the continued sustainable production of feed, fibre, food and fuel.

The international initiative "4 per 1000", launched by France on 1 December 2015 at the COP 21, consists of federating all voluntary stakeholders of the public and private sectors (national governments, local and regional governments, companies, trade organizations, NGOs, research facilities, etc.) under the framework of the Lima-Paris Action Plan (LPAP).

The aim of the initiative is to demonstrate that agriculture, and in particular agricultural soils, can play a crucial role where food security and climate change are concerned.

The international initiative "4 per 1000", launched by France on 1 December 2015 at the COP 21, consists of federating all voluntary stakeholders of the public and private sectors (national governments, local and regional governments, companies, trade organisations, NGOs, research facilities, etc.) under the framework of the Lima-Paris Action Plan (LAP).

The aim of the initiative is to demonstrate that agriculture, and in particular agricultural soils, can play a crucial role where food security and climate change are concerned.

Supported by solid scientific documentation, this initiative invites all partners to state or implement some practical actions on soil carbon storage and the type of practices to achieve this (e.g., agroecology, agroforestry, conservation agriculture, landscape management, etc.).

The ambition of the initiative is to encourage stakeholders to transition towards a productive, highly resilient agriculture, based on the appropriate management of lands and soils, creating jobs and incomes hence ensuring sustainable development. The Executive Secretariat of the "4 per 1000" initiative is hosted by the CGIAR System Organization, an international organization based in Montpellier.

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An annual growth rate of 0.4% in the soil carbon stocks, or 4‰ per year, in the first 30-40 cm of soil, would significantly reduce the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere related to human activities.

This growth rate is not a normative target for each country but is intended to show that even a small increase in the soil carbon stock (agricultural soils, notably grasslands and pastures, and forest soils) is crucial to improve soil fertility and agricultural production and to contribute to achieving the long-term objective of limiting the temperature increase to the +2°C threshold, beyond which the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) indicates that the effects of climate change are significant.

The "4 per 1000” initiative is intended to complement those necessary efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, globally and generally in the economy as a whole. It is voluntary; it is up to each member to define how they want to contribute to the goals.

Watch This Video To Learn More
 

Human activities emit enormous amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere, which enhances the greenhouse effect and accelerates climate change.

Every year, 30% of this carbon dioxide (CO2) is absorbed by plants thanks to the photosynthesis process. Then, when those plants die and decompose, the living organisms of the soil, such as bacteria, fungi or earthworms, transform them into organic matter.

This carbon-rich organic material is essential for human nutrition because it retains water,   nitrogen and phosphorus, essential for growing plants.

Global soils contain 2 to 3 times more carbon than the atmosphere.

If this carbon level increased by 0.4%, or 4 ‰ per year, in the first 30-40 cm of soil, the annual increase of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere would be significantly reduced.

This is what the 4 per 1000 Initiative proposes: soils for food security and climate.

The increase in the amount of carbon in soil contributes to:

  • not only stabilise the climate

  • but also to ensure food security, i.e., to provide food in sufficient quantity

Organic matter in soils:

Primarily composed of carbon, organic matter in soils plays a role in four important ecosystem services:

  • resistance to soil erosion, 

  • soil water retention, 

  • soil fertility for plants and 

  • soil biodiversity.

Even small changes in the soil carbon pool have large-scale effects both on agricultural productivity and on greenhouse gas balance.

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Maintaining organic carbon-rich soils, restoring and improving degraded agricultural lands and, more generally, increasing soil carbon, play an important role in addressing the three-fold challenge of food security, adaptation of food systems and people to climate change, and mitigation of anthropogenic emissions.