Improving the position of organic matter in the fertiliser legislation

Twenty-nine organisations call upon the Dutch parliament to use the 6th Nitrate Directive Action Programme to improve the position of organic matter in the Dutch fertiliser legislation. Organic matter is vital for soil fertility and biodiversity as well as important in meeting climate objectives and creating a circular economy.

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Improving the position of organic matter in the fertiliser legislation

Manifesto ‘Organic matter: bringing life to Dutch soils’ endorsed by 29 organisations

Twenty-nine organisations call upon the Dutch parliament to use the 6th Nitrate Directive Action Programme to improve the position of organic matter in the Dutch fertiliser legislation. Organic matter is vital for soil fertility and biodiversity as well as important in meeting climate objectives and creating a circular economy.

The manifesto ‘Organic matter: bringing life to Dutch soils’ is an initiative of the Dutch Association of Biowaste Processors (BVOR) and The Dutch Federation of Agriculture and Horticulture (LTO) and sets out the vision of the 29 partner organisations. It was presented to the Permanent Parliamentary Committee on Economic Affairs prior to a round-table meeting on organic matter and soil fertility on 26 October 2016. The manifesto partners range from industry associations in the agri-food sector and producers of organic soil conditioners to nature conservation and environmental organisations. The Dutch Waste Management Association (DWMA) is one of the signatories. 

The manifesto was presented to the Permanent Parliamentary Committee on Economic Affairs on 26 October 2016

Immeasurable value of organic matter 

Soil organic matter is of immeasurable value for soil fertility and biodiversity and for achieving climate objectives. However, Dutch soils are losing their organic matter. The problem is the emphasis in the current Dutch fertiliser legislation on reducing nitrogen and phosphate emissions from soils, which makes it difficult to apply sufficient organic matter and establish an integrated and sustainable soil management regime.

Revise the fertiliser legislation

The manifesto partners call upon the Dutch parliament to take a number of steps, such as revising the fertiliser regulations and allowing farmers to adopt appropriate site-specific manure and fertiliser regimes, either while remaining within the relevant environmental limits. The manifesto contains recommendations on improving the possibilities for using organic soil conditioners recovered from residual waste streams, implementing the ‘0.4‰ Initiative’ in the Netherlands, introducing better incentives for good organic matter management by farmers and for sustainable soil management, and on making good organic matter management a condition in short lease contracts and land transactions. The partners also ask for support to facilitate research and the development of expertise on soil organic matter management among farmers and other stakeholders. 

Improve the position of compost

The BVOR and the DWMA are working together to improve the position of compost and have devised several actions. One of these was the round-table discussion in parliament hosted by BVOR and LTO. The partner organisations will also be making their case on the importance of compost at other times and through various channels.