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4 per 1000 Initiative: Some data on national policies relating to 4per1000

An analysis on how a State can put a 4per1000 initiative into practice has been missing until now. The French Ministry for Agriculture filled this gap and, on 19 July, published a booklet (only in FR) entitled “Implementation of policies related to 4per1000 at national level”.

The starting points are clear: a) climate change is the top challenge for the agricultural sector, it has to be acknowledged by the large number of draughts and increasing environmental disasters over the past few years; b) promoting more carbon accumulation in soil is a strong contribution for the safeguard of agriculture; c) increasing organic matter in soil allows further fertility, which could confront the food security challenge as well as increasing resistance to erosion, and water accumulation.

The framework is well defined and gives full meaning to the 4per1000 initiative.

However, the objectives at national level as well as which actions to take are more challenging to enlist.  The document indicates three main blocks:

  1. Organic matter conservation in soil, when present in quantity (forests, areas of high humidity, fields, meadows, mixed agricultural systems);
  2. Increasing inventories, where organic matter is less present, but where its potential growth and accumulation could still take place with a circular economy perspective.
  • Land balance and synergy, aimed at circular economy (i.e. use of biomasses, lands producing organic matter and those requiring a boost in quality of organic matter in soil).

Many solutions have been suggested: varying productions, favouring biodiversity, improving fertilizer management (including the effective use of agricultural inputs and natural resources), improving and preserving soil quality, protecting agricultural ecosystems, fighting against climate change, certifying farms.

It is evident that the proposed specific policies are valid and have been tailored according to the French national context, only. They can however be seen as an attempt to indicate some steps which can be adopted and adapted by every Member State.

Let us remind you that Italy is not a member of the 4per1000 Initiative. It is therefore up to civil society and category-specific associations to find the necessary political measures to change current agricultural practices to achieve an increase and accumulation of carbon in soil.