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The Lower House of Chile approves a project that encourages sustainable soil management

This is SIGESS, an initiative promoted by the Ministry of Agriculture, which will contribute to the recovery and conservation of degraded soils, benefiting small and medium-sized farmers in the country.


The AgricultureCommission of the Chilean Chamber of Deputies.

Soil is the largest reservoir of organic carbon on planet Earth and plays a fundamental role in mitigation and adaptation to climate change, in the conservation of biodiversity and in ecosystem services. However, despite its importance, it is estimated that 79% of soils have some level of degradation and that almost half is eroded, as a result of pollution, deforestation and poor agricultural practices, among other factors.

It is in this context that the Ministry of Agriculture of Chile promoted the bill “System of Incentives for Sustainable Soil Management (SIGESS)”, which reformulates the SIRSD-S (the System of Incentives for the Agro-Environmental Sustainability of Agricultural Soils), which has been carried out for more than a decade in different territories of the country.

For months, this initiative has been discussed in the Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Development Commission of the Chamber of Deputies and today it took a big step: it was approved, in general and unanimously, by this body.

After finishing the session, the Undersecretary(s) of Agriculture, Wilson Ureta, valued the result obtained and his contribution. "We continue to advance with this important initiative of our ministry, which includes in its design new elements to face the demands of climate change, and as its name indicates, it will be an incentive system aimed at small and medium agricultural producers, both for recover already degraded soils to prevent this problem in the future,” he noted.

Likewise, the director of the Office of Agrarian Studies and Policies (Odepa), Andrea García, added that “we are going in the right direction to get this project approved, which protects the soil as the heritage of our food sovereignty, incorporating in a way fair and equitable to small producers for the adoption of best practices to conserve and recover soils, which are the basis of agricultural production.”

Reformulated program

The new SIGESS program will have three instruments. The first is a bonus that will encourage specific practices in areas of conservation and improvement of productive soils, which will address the economic barriers that farmers face to carry out these management actions.

The second instrument considers training and technological transfer to agricultural producers and the third a community fund for those who solve problems together, such as, for example, the consequences generated by the summer forest fires and the floods generated by the frontal systems of June and August in the central-southern area of the country.

The SIGESS will be executed by the Agricultural and Livestock Service (SAG) and the Agricultural Development Institute (INDAP), through management plans prepared by accredited operators, according to their strategic guidelines.

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