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Benefits of organic-based fertilizers


father and daughter hands play with soil in the gardenWhat are organic-based fertilizers?

The broad category of organic-based fertilizers includes diverse formulations of products that provide plants with nutrients and/or improve organic matter in the soil. They are applied to plants and/or soils to improve soil fertility, plant vigour, produce quality and yield. Organic-based fertilizers are used in both organic and conventional agriculture.

Organic-based fertilizers include three specific product categories: organic fertilizers, organo-mineral fertilizers and organic soil improvers. ECOFI defines and differentiates these three linked product categories as follows:

  • Organic fertilizer: a fertilizer whose main function is to provide nutrients under organic forms from organic materials of plant and/or animal origin.
  • Organo-mineral fertilizer: a complex fertilizer obtained by industrial co-formulation of one or more inorganic fertilizers with one or more organic fertilizers and/or organic soil improvers into solid forms (with the exception of dry mixes) or liquids.
  • Organic soil improver: a soil improver containing carbonaceous materials of plant and/or animal origin, whose main function is to maintain or increase the soil organic matter content.

Tomato plants - Courtesy of SCAMHow do organic-based fertilizers work and what do they do?

The use of organic-based fertilizers in sustainable agriculture benefits farmers, growers, consumers and the environment in many ways. As empirically demonstrated, organic-based fertilizers help to:

  • boost both nutrient efficiency and organic matter content in the soil;
  • nurture the soil with organic matter that reduces dependency on chemical inputs;
  • restore and maintain soil fertility to nurture plant growth;
  • enhance the biological activity and biodiversity of soils;
  • enhance the quality attributes of produce as well as yield;
  • improve the efficiency of nutrient use to produce more robust crops;
  • facilitate the slow release of nutrients in response to the dynamic needs of plants;
  • boost the efficiency of water use to render crops more resilient and drought-resistant;
  • reduce the impact of farming and safeguard ecosystems by minimizing leaching.
  • enhance crop resistance to erosion by improving the soil’s organic matter content.
  • improve the efficiency of resource use by incorporating natural raw materials.

How do organic-based fertilizers contribute to sustainability in Europe?

Organic-based fertilizers play an increasingly significant role in supporting and implementing the targets set out in Europe 2020, the European Commission’s growth strategy.

This is how organic-based fertilizers support the three pillars of the strategy:

Smart growth – for an economy based on research, knowledge and innovation.
Our members are part of a research-based, knowledge-intensive and innovation-driven sector that is pioneering solutions to challenges throughout the value chain in agriculture, food and nutrition.

Sustainable growth – for a resource-efficient, greener and more competitive economy.
The materials that compose organic-based fertilizers, the beneficial natural processes they generate, and the ways in which they are produced contribute to the sustainable, resource-efficient and low-carbon economy that Europe is committed to building.

Inclusive growth – for a high-employment economy with social and territorial cohesion.
The organic-based fertilizers industry generates local employment opportunities and regional economic development across both rural and urban areas, nurturing more vibrant manufacturing and farming communities.