Evaluation of the National Agricultural Soils Programme. Interim evaluation period 2019-2021

Agricultural land is used very intensively in the Netherlands, mainly in order to achieve maximum agricultural production. It is important that the quality of the soil is improved and monitored so that, in addition to achieving optimal production, public objectives such as good water quality, soil fertility, water buffering, biodiversity and/or carbon sequestration can be guaranteed. In its National Agricultural Soils Programme (Nationaal Programma Landbouwbodems, NPL), the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality aims to improve soil quality by encouraging sustainable soil management.

The NPL has two key goals:

  1. Sustainable management of all agricultural soils by 2030.
  2. Extra reduction of 0.5 Mton CO2-eq. through extra carbon sequestration in agricultural soils.

In order to achieve the two key goals of the NPL, four different tracks have been set up within the programme (knowledge development and dissemination, policy incentives to promote sustainable management, innovation challenges in the agro-chain, and regional initiatives). This study, which is commissioned by the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, is an interim evaluation of the NPL since its inception in 2019 and will run until mid-2021. The focus of the evaluation is the effectiveness and efficiency of the current policy.