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Living with the Soil/2

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Living with the Soil[edit | edit source]

Foreword[edit | edit source]

Food security and the conservation of natural resources are two key objectives of German and Swiss development cooperation. Soil forms a bridge between these objectives as is it the natural resource which provides the basis for food production. Unless soil productivity is maintained, it will not be possible to guarantee sustainable food security for a growing world population. At the same time, soils play an important role in maintaining biodiversity and protecting the climate.

Protecting soils is thus not only in the interests of crop and livestock farmers, but also of society as a whole. In spite of this, soils are being degraded around the globe through inappropriate use or lost through settlements and infrastructure development. This brochure identifies the scale and causes of soil degradation. It also shows that despite the complexity of the theme, there are promising strategies to protect soil resources, and that these strategies are also being successfully implemented in development cooperation.

The brochure is designed primarily for development organisations, but also for the public interested in development issues. It emphasises that the protection and sustainable management of soils is crucial not only for crop farmers, animal producers and foresters, but also for all of us. One particular target group of this brochure are experts in the fields of rural development, and agricultural and economic policy. They have to accept that land owners, crop farmers and pastoralists will only invest in long-term soil conservation if they are able to profit from these investments. This requires guaranteed use rights, access to markets and credits, and attractive producer prices. In brief, it requires conducive economic conditions and appropriate institutional support. A further significant requirement is that land users be enabled to articulate their aims and communicate their needs, in order to facilitate dialogue and a reconciliation of interests between actors at various decision-making levels.

Section for Agriculture,
Fisheries, Agricultural
Research, Rural
Development and Anti-drugs

German Federal Ministry for
Economic Cooperation and
Development (BMZ)

Paul Egger

Agriculture Division

Swiss Agency for
Development and
Cooperation (SDC)

Petra Mutlu

Division for Rural

Deutsche Gesellschaft f�r
Technische Zusammenarbeit
(GTZ) GmbH