Prince Charles Pledges Support for Global Soil Improvement Initiative

soil improvement

Prince Charles has announced his cooperation with the French and British governments in favor of efforts towards worldwide soil improvement.

The Prince praised the French government’s signature project on soil health entitled the “Four per Thousand Initiative,” which seeks to increase the carbon content of the world’s soils by 0.4 percent every year, thus halting the annual increase in CO2 in the atmosphere.

Members of the initiative will be meeting in Marrakech, Morocco, on November 17th to discuss techniques to achieve this goal moving forward.

Peter Melchett, Soil Association policy director, says that this French initiative is “extraordinarily important.” He also notes that the goals of the initiative are similar to ones set by the Association in 2015 to increase organic matter in UK soils by 20 percent over the next 20 years.

“We believe – at 20 percent in 20 years – it would be possible to increase the water holding capacity of arable farmland in the UK by the equivalent of one and a half Olympic swimming pools per hectare, reducing flooding and increasing resilience to droughts, and reducing ghg emissions in the UK by the equivalent saved by taking nearly 1 million cars off the road,” he told FarmingUK.

In the coming weeks, both governments intend to discuss techniques to achieve this goal, as well as how to restore degraded soils, increase soil fertility, and increase food security.

“A combination of population and economic growth are expected to increase global demand for food in the future,” said Lord Krebs from the Committee on Climate Change. “At the same time, climate change could reduce the capacity of the land globally to keep pace with growing demand. It is, therefore, essential that we are doing all we can to protect the long-term productive capacity of our agricultural soils.”

The French initiative has put greenhouse gas emissions from farming on the global climate change agenda for the first time since 1997.

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Emily Monaco
Emily Monaco

Emily Monaco is an American food and culture writer based in Paris. She loves uncovering the stories behind ingredients and exposing the face of our food system, so that consumers can make educated choices. Her work has been published in the Wall Street Journal, Vice Munchies, and Serious Eats.