Return to Content

E-Coffee with ECOFI: organic-based fertilisers and soil health event recap!

January 8, 2024 by Aoife Bracken

If you are interested in watching the recording of our E-Coffee with ECOFI: organic-based fertiliser and soil health, you can find it here 


On the 12th of December, ECOFI hosted our first E-Coffee with ECOFI, the first in our new webinar series where we invite people to grab a coffee (or tea if you are so inclined) and learn more about the organic-based fertiliser industry and our products! Our first webinar was on the topic of organic-based fertilisers and soil health. We heard from Chiara Manoli, ECOFI’s President, Ana Rocha, Director of EU Agri and Food Policy at the European Landowners’ Association and Ion Codescu, Head of Unit at Land Use and Management at DG Environment. This discussion gave us an interesting insight into the substantive role organic-based fertilisers can play in promoting and protecting soil health and key stakeholder opinions on the EU’s Soil Monitoring Directive.  


In her presentation about the role of organic-based fertilisers, Chiara stressed the importance of soil organic matter for soil health and how organic-based fertilisers – thanks to their composition – make an excellent source of carbon, which is crucial to soil structure and biodiversity. Refined organic-based fertilisers provide traceability and predictability in the balance of nutrients, delivering reliable nutrient fertilising products to farmers, which also directly add organic matter to soils. They work most effectively in combination with other forms of agricultural inputs, such as mineral fertilisers and plant biostimulants. Organic-based fertilisers are also an excellent example of the circular economy in action, and ECOFI called on the EU during this webinar to ensure a supportive regulatory and policy framework for circularity to ensure organic-based fertilisers can reach their full potential and contribute to food security and sustainability across Europe.  


The next speaker was Ana Rocha from the European Landowners’ Association (ELO) on the EU’s new Soil Monitoring Directive – what the ELO believes the Directive got right and where it has fallen short. The ELO, as an organisation, knows how vital soil health is to ensure a sustainable future through protecting and promoting soil health to guarantee food security and bolster biodiversity. The ELO runs The Land and Soil Management Awards, which rewards land users who use soil management practices that mitigate threats to soil health. Although the ELO welcomed the Directive, they criticise its one-out-all-out principle – which they believe could lead to a potential dilution of good results. This is something ECOFI has also raised concerns about. The ELO is a big proponent of sustainable soil management and wants to help landowners manage their land sustainably – which organic-based fertilisers can play an important role in. However, they feel that the Soil Monitoring Directive falls short when it comes to the soil data the Commission intends to collect. The ELO would prefer a living database detailing examples of best practices and examples of schemes and soil management systems rather than the current restrictive list being proposed by the Commission to allow for flexibility for landowners.  


Our final speaker was Ion Codescu, Head of Unit at Land Use and Management at DG Environment, who worked extensively on the Commission proposal for the new Soil Monitoring Directive. Mr Codescu spoke about how we have not been using and treating soils well for years, which has led to 60 – 70% of EU soils being declared as unhealthy by the EU. The Directive introduces a “staged approach and covers all soils” and works to build on previous work in other EU Member States to ensure the EU does not lose the progress already made at the domestic level. Mr Codescu mentions the importance of data gathering to ensure good soil management across the EU; we need more data to gather a clearer picture to tackle the issue of soil health. The importance of sustainable soil management is recognised in the Directive, a key pillar of the plan to ensure healthy soils in the EU. ECOFI welcomes this emphasis on sustainable soil management and reemphasises how organic-based fertilisers can play a vital role in sustainable soil management.  


Following our panel discussion, Marion Martinez opened the Q&A portion of our webinar. This Q&A session included lively discussions prompted by questions posed by Marion Martinez and the audience. One key concept that came through during the Q&A was the importance of support for soil managers. Chiara Manoli of ECOFI pointed out that this can come from the organic-based fertiliser industry itself, helping farmers to design the best fertilising strategy for them and provide information about soil management strategies. She also advocated for economic support from the EU or Member States to help soil managers to develop and implement these. ECOFI believes that farmers and other land users need various forms of political, policy and economic support to promote more sustainable soil management practices, including encouraging the use of organic-based fertilisers. 


 If you would like to attend our upcoming E-Coffee events in the new year, make sure to check out our LinkedIn and join our newsletter. If you would like to find out more about how organic-based fertilisers contribute to soil health or any other elements outlined in this summary report, contact