Please the Rapporteurs` Report for this

Summary of 4.5/
Open Space Format Session
Brave Farmers, Green Belts and
Wrong Debates
T h u r s d ay
ek 20
W 3 April
al Soil
Open Space Format Session
4.5 Brave Farmers,
Green Belts and Wrong Debates
Thursday, 23 April 2015
Ingrid Hartmann – DRYRES, Consultants for drylands research and drylands resilience,
Germany ([email protected])
Hailu Araya – ISD-Institute for Sustainable Development/BPA- Best Practice Association,
Ethiopia ([email protected])
The session combined a puzzle of presentations and a simulation game which were connected
by a red thread of multi-stakeholder approaches of soil protection to ensure food security and
development. It was highlighted in the introduction, that within food security as composed of
food production, food accessibility and food utilization it would be the soils, which would determine the level of food production, but different stakeholders who would determine food access
and utilization, while it would also the access to soils, and therefore land tenure issues, which
would also determine food access to a certain degree.
The first presentation (Hailu Araya, Best Practice Association and Institute for Sustainable
Development) showed examples of multi-functional agricultural practices in Konso, Ethiopia, a
UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site, famous for its terraces. A particular agricultural practice
of accelerated soil generation and accumulation of organic matter, based on the crushing
of natural rocks was illustrated. Participants mentioned that the system enabled the building
© Hailu Araya
© Hailu Araya
Figure 1 – Hillside squared terraces
supported by mulching
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Figure 2 – teff field in mulch and squared
of microbial body substance through the mechanical accumulation of organic matter in the
system and therefore enabled the establishment of a “living soil”. The photo shows a lie bund
in hilly background. The support or the bunds are also used as mulch.
© Ingrid Hartmann
A second presentation by the same author under the title “The Wrong Debate” addressed
the claim of different “schools” of agriculture to be the only one to feed the world, a discourse
mainly led between organic/traditional versus conventional agriculture. Participants mentioned
other claims, which would go beyond the view of these schools, such as “farmers feed the
world” or “microbes feed the world”. Finally, the claim of any school to provide food security
was led ad absurdum, as was intended to show. Participants discussed, how boundaries between different agricultural schools and systems could be overcome through more common
categories instead, and it was concluded these could be the characteristics of a system to
ensure sufficient quantity of food in sufficient quality without damaging the environment and
environmental services. The responsibilities of current generations for the coming generations
to ensure ecological sustainability in food systems was mentioned. Sustainability studies as
currently offered in various German Universities were highlighted as an instrument to create
better awareness on these issues.
© xxxxxxxxxxxxx
The invisibility of soils became an important issue during the discussions, and one participants
compared the need to address the invisibility of soils with the same engagement as in earlier
days the danger of the invisible nuclear energy had been addressed.
The third presentation (Ingrid Hartmann, DRYRES) added to the topic of physical invisibility of
soils also the political invisibility of initiatives which address soil and desertification issues, with
the Great Green Green Wall as a most prominent initiative, which still has not received sufficient
attention within the current political agenda up to now.
In a final contribution the problem of invisibility of soils by the same author was attributed to
the position of soil functions within the ecosystem as mainly sustaining or regulating other
-provisioning – ecosystem services, such as water, food, biodiversity etc.. While it would be
those provisioning services which would be at the interface between humans and ecosystems,
these would receive higher awareness and political attention, while there would be less attentation and awareness for soil functions, since they would not have direct impacts on human
well-being, therefore remaining in the realm of invisibility.
To demonstrate these relations through a simulation game, the author introduced a prototype
of a simulation game (European type like Monopoly, Agricola etc..), which simulates actors’ behaviours under different scenarios, based on assumptions like increasing costs for rehabilitation
with increasing degradation, policy impacts which enhance soil erosion and pollution, climate
change impacts of land use changes, the impacts of soil quality on food crop productivity.
One round of the game was played by all participants.
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