Strong incentives needed to protect and restore EU soils

Published: 05/07/2023

The European Commission today published a proposed directive on soil monitoring and resilience. FoodDrinkEurope Director General Dirk Jacobs has issued the following statement in response: 

Our food systems are built upon good soil, yet research has shown that around 60 to 70% of EU soils are unhealthy. The Commission is therefore right to bring soil into focus in this proposal, but it must not miss the opportunity to make true impact.

There is currently a significant financing gap to meet the EU’s ambitions for better soil health. For example, an estimated €8 billion a year is needed to help farmers transition to more sustainable farming, including better soil management, and agri-food businesses face a finance gap of at least €12.5 billion in unmet loan demands.

Adequate funding will help de-risk farmers move to sustainable practices while safeguarding their income and productivity.

While the proposed soil law provides a good basis for soil descriptors, indicators and sustainable soil management practices, it falls short on clear guidelines and innovative tools for soil use and restoration by actors of the agri-food chain.

FoodDrinkEurope is committed to continue collaborating with stakeholders and policymakers to support soil protection and regeneration, as a member of the expert group on the implementation of the Soil Strategy for 2030, and as a signatory of the EU Mission Soil Manifesto.