Based on the EU’s Soil Strategy 1, soil organic matter stands out as a pivotal component in the realm of environmental sustainability. This critical element determines the soil’s capability to sustain a diverse range of biodiversity and deliver pivotal ecosystem services, especially those tied to fertility. Furthermore, soil organic matter acts as a reservoir of carbon that has been extracted from our atmosphere. A concerning observation is the noticeable decline of organic matter in European soils. This decline isn’t just alarming due to the associated loss of fertility and the looming threat of desertification but also due to the greenhouse gas emissions it results in.
Researchers advocate that soil organic matter should ideally be within the range of 3-6% 2. However, recent analyses undertaken by SYNECO have unveiled a rather unsettling statistic: the average soil organic matter content is a mere 2.7%. For further insights on this topic, the European Environment Agency provides a detailed report 3. Recognizing the gravity of this issue, SYNECO has taken the initiative to augment soil organic matter by 4% every year 4.
Delving into local concerns, the emerging trend of discharging or exporting pig and cow slurry in Malta comes across as highly inadvisable. The significance of soil organic matter spans multiple dimensions, including soil fertility, water retention, nutrient preservation, and crop yield enhancement. Given Malta’s unique agrarian context, it becomes even more crucial to conserve the organic matter present in the animal slurry. This organic matter can serve as a resource to enrich the fertility of Maltese fields. Rather than exporting this precious resource, Malta should be focused on its preservation and even consider importing additional organic matter.
For more insights and updates, stay tuned with SYNECO’s research and initiatives as we journey towards a sustainable future.