Main research question
Which reward mechanisms work best to promote farming practices that stimulate soil health in Europe, and how can they get more widespread implementation? This is the central question in the SoilValues project, approved under the Soil Mission. Farmers provide marketable products such as food, feed, fiber and timber, as well as non-marketable ecosystem services that are usually not traded or compensated for. For this reason, farmers do not have much of an immediate incentive to invest in healthy soils. SoilValues develops or improves business models for soil health. The main focus is on increasing awareness and knowledge about the potential soil-promoting practices and the role that everyone in the chain can or should play.
We highlight practices that contribute to soil health, along with the factors that influence implementation or non-implementation. We support six initiatives across Europe to develop or refine new and existing business models. We organize mixed user groups, of farmers, agri-food chain actors, investors, governments and the like, who evaluate business models from their perspective. We realize a comprehensive toolbox of incentives and policy recommendations to facilitate business models for soil health.
This project indirectly works on the three conditions for a business model around soil health to work: first, it is important to map and where possible, measure the ecosystem services that are provided; second, the data must be able to be exchanged in an efficient way (in terms of monitoring, reporting and verification); finally, there must be an appropriate institutional framework that manages the necessary legislation, standards and incentives. Specifically, the policy recommendations and tools coming out of SoilValues will drive the adoption of revenue models for soil health. Proven successful business models for soil health are expected to get a faster rollout.
EU Horizon Europe