South Africa-EU Dialogue on soil information

The purpose of the dialogue is to discuss the soil information collection, storage, processing and sharing in South Africa and the EU. The outcome is expected as a long-term strategy on soil information in the 21st century. The strategy document will formulate a road map for the future man-soil interaction regulating the data collection and sharing between the SA government, provinces and private entities.

Project title: Soil information to support sustainable development, conservation and land reform in South Africa (SINFOSA)

Description: The dialogue will focus on the legislative framework for soil data collection and data sharing between government and private data owners. The EU experience is particularly important to facilitate interaction and collaboration between different government departments and industry partners at national and provincial level in SA focused on land use. Best practice examples from the EU should be carefully studied along with best practice shown at national and provincial level in RSA. Awareness of the value of soil information has to be improved across the SA government departments dealing with land use. A new strategy is required to facilitate the use of existing and collection of new soil information. Capacity building in government departments and training of technical staff is necessary to ensure well-informed evidence-based decision making in the matters of land utilization.

Overall Objective: The long-terms change is expected through a development of policy on soil information in SA, which will enable broader use of soil information for planning of sustainable development, water supply, conservation and land restitution efforts.

Specific Project Purpose: A new strategy on soil information will be developed based on the European experience, particularly the legal framework existing in France, which allows government institutions (e.g. INRA) on the basis of confidentiality to access and use privately-held information for provincial and national needs including research and development. The legal framework for such access does not exist in SA.

1. A strategy on soil information use and new data collection in SA
2. Improved networking between the government departments through capacity building to interpret and use soil information
3. Initiative for a legislative effort to regulate the acquisition and sharing of soil information in SA

Synopsis of methodology & Dialogue elements
The kick-off stakeholder workshop is to bring the parties together to initiate the discussion on soil information in SA and introduce the European experience. The second step is selecting a group of government representatives and organizing a fact-finding mission to Brussels, ISRIC, the Netherlands’ INRA, France and JRC, Italy. The final step is a field workshop in Limpopo, South Africa to observe the use of soil information for upliftment of an irrigation community in Giyani local municipality through a Public-Private partnership. The final workshop should culminate in adoption of strategy document outlining the steps for a new legislation on soil information in SA

The first workshop takes place in Pretoria (South Africa) , February 22, 2018 – February 23, 2018.  Registration is open

South African Partners:
Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF); Agricultural Research Council, Department of Soil Science, Stellenbosch University.

European Union and Member State Partners:
Joint Research Centre, EU (JRC-EU); International Soil Reference and Information Centre (ISRIC), Institute National pour la Recherche Agronomique (INRA), France.