Soil is a Diamond – The importance of soil and its restoration


“4 per 1000” initiative
Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL), Division 521, Sustainability and Climate Change

Time: Tuesday, 25. January 2022, 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. (CET), subsequent deep dive 4:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Languages: English, German

The panel was moderated by Dr. Paul LUU (4p1000). At the beginning, greetings were given by Dr. Ibrahim Hassane Mayaki (CEO, NEPAD & outgoing Vice President, 4p1000) and Cem Özdemir (Federal Minister of Agriculture and Food). Afterwards, a video was shown which gave an impression of the NGOs and farmers of 4p1000. The HumusPlus program was presented in a second video. In connection with HumusPlus, Dr. Wolfgang Zornbach (BMEL) and Dr. Axel Don (Thünen Institute) were invited. 4p1000 was represented by Dr. Bahrat Kakade (BAIF), Paulo Araújo (Café dos Contos) and Barbara Hachipuka Banda (NAPDZ). The five speakers* discussed the following key points:

  • The importance of soil carbon as a major driver of soil health.
  • The need for action in relation to the ongoing degradation of agricultural land
  • Carbon farming as an incentive and business model
  • The positive effects of regenerative approaches to soil health
  • The need for research on biomass accumulation by roots
  • The need for incentives and support for farmers to shift to soil health-friendly management practices
  • The importance of imparting knowledge related to soil health-promoting management in the course of rural development
  • The importance of empowering women in establishing more sustainable management in rural sub-Saharan Africa


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Dr. Paul Luu is an agronomist specialized in tropical agronomy. He began his career in the field, leading agronomic research projects in St. Lucia, Sri Lanka and Tonga for six years before joining the International Relations Department of the French Ministry of Agriculture.

In 2011, Paul Luu was appointed director of Agropolis International, the international association representing the scientific community “Agronomy – Environment – Biodiversity – Water” of the Occitanie region. In particular, he contributed to the creation of the CGIAR Consortium in Montpellier, an international organization dedicated to agricultural research for the benefit of the poorest people on the planet. He joined the organization in September 2013 as Liaison Officer with the French authorities, then as Protocol Officer.

Since September 2016, Dr. Paul Luu has been Executive Secretary of the “4 per 1000” initiative launched at COP 21 in Paris.

Panel Guests

Dr. Zornbach grew up on a small horticultural farm and studied biology at the University of Hamburg from 1979 to 1986, majoring in applied botany, microbiology and applied entomology.

After completing his dissertation at the Federal Biological Research Centre for Agriculture and Forestry (now the Julius Kühn Institute), Dr. Zornbach moved to the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) in June 1990. There he worked in the Plant Protection Unit and, since February 2017, in the Sustainability and Climate Protection, Climate Impacts Unit (Unit 521), which he now heads.

Dr. Zornbach chaired the OECD Pesticide Risk Reduction Steering Group for over 10 years, chaired a number of OECD seminars and workshops on various plant protection topics, and most recently chaired the OECD Working Group on Pesticides. This is the highest body within the OECD dealing with plant protection issues. In 2018/2019, Dr. Zornbach served as Chair of the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases (GRA).


  • Since 2017: Deputy director of the Thünen Institute of Climate-Smart Agriculture
  • 2017: Habilitation (postdoctoral lecture qualification), Associate professor (Privatdozent)
  • Since 2013: Lecturer at the Technical University Braunschweig, Institute of Geoecology
  • 2009-2016: Research group leader at the Thünen Institute of Climate-Smart Agriculture.
  • 2008: Postdoc Scientist at Max-Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry in Project „Potential analysis of land-use systems and their biogeochemical cycles to reduce greenhouse gas emissions“.


  • 2003 – 2007
    PhD at Max-Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry und Eberhard Karls University Tübingen, Physical Geography; BIOTREE-Project
    Title: Carbon dynamic of young experimental afforestations in Thuringia
  • 1997 – 2003
    Diploma in Geoecology (Environmental Sciences) at the University Bayreuth. Title of Diploma thesis: Impact of decomposition of different forest litter on the amount and bioavailability of dissolve organic carbon – effect of a forest transition; Bayreuth Institute of Terrestrial Ecosystem Research.
  • 2000 – 2001
    Environmental Science at University Limerick, Ireland. Research Project on the characterisation of peatland derived dissolved organic carbon (Chemistry of the Colloids in Soils and Waters).
Bharat Kakade, President and Managing Trustee of BAIF is a gold medallist in post graduate engineering of Pune University and has management credentials, a LEAD Fellow and Ph.D. Scholar of IIT Bombay.

His organisation, BAIF Development Research Foundation has been working for rural livelihood through sustainable management of natural resources,  for last 54 years with a spread of its work in 12 Indian states, about One Lakh villages covering over 4 million rural poor families.

Mr Kakade has been instrumental in developing several region-specific innovative approaches in Natural Resources Management, Climate Change Adaptation, Rural Livelihoods and Sustainable Development, which have contributed to rural livelihoods and environmental conservation at a scale. He has been intensely engaged in building a cadre of development practitioners and field functionaries while translating his experience into effective training and extension tools and policy papers in the Water Sector. He carries with him a blend of hands-on experience in development management and national and international policy environment for sustainable development.

He has to his credit about 8 research reports and manuals and published over 30 research articles and case studies in the national and international journals.

Paulo de Araújo is cofounder of Café dos Contos, a special and agroforestry coffee brand in Brazil. Implemented in 2018, the coffee crops occupies an area of 2 hectars. In 2018, Café dos Contos won the New Agro Award, grantd by Santander Bank and ESALQ/USP (the major university on agronomy in Brazil) in the category Sustainability – Smallholder Farming. Besides production, Café dos Contos farm is also a research site in regenerative agriculture in partnership with IFSUL-MG (Brazilian Federal University). In 2019, a study case of Café dos Contos was showcased during World Congress on Agroforestry, in Montpellier.

Founder & Project Coordinator, March 2005 – To Date
Natural Agriculture Development Program Zambia

  • Design and execute project work plans to meet the goals and objective of the project.
  • Identify resources needed and assign individual responsibilities.
  • Responsible for planning, program design, and to ensure its proper implementation at the field level
  • Responsible to Submit Narrative and Financial Report
  • Ensure good coordination with all stakeholders
  • Conduct orientation sessions for staff about overall objectives and activities of the project as per approved proposal.
  • Develop Project Plan and consultation with the team, with the assigning of roles and responsibilities against the activities of the project as per approved proposal.
  • Share communication check list with the staff and follow up to ensure implementation in the field activities.
  • Monitoring visits to field and to provide technical support to field staff.
  • To develop linkages with other key players working in the field.
  • Submission of weekly, monthly, and quarterly report.
  • To provide day to day guidance to project staff.
  • Provide guidance for the field level activities and facilitate staff for implementation and issues resolution.
  • Supervise staff for the Broad-Based Community meetings and mobilization in selected Villages and establishment of village organizations on each village level
  • Supervise the process of identification/verification of Sites for Rehabilitation as per the agreed criteria in the approved proposal.


Communications Officer, June 2006 – October 2009
Yapya Youth Investment Trust of Zambia

  • Set-up Operational base and offices for Yapya Youth Investment Trust.
  • Provided monthly financial and activity reports to donors and investors
  • Developed concept papers and business plans with the investment teams.
  • Developed client Monitoring and Evaluation reports.
  • Developed communication materials
  • Organized youth client training sessions and conferences.
  • Managed a small staff of 3 people including admin officer and drivers.


Advertising Officer, April 2003- December 2005,
Youth Media

  • Created Organisational PR Strategy & Materials.
  • Client relations


Editor-in Chief, Sept 2001-April 2003, Trendsetters Magazine,
Youth Media

  • Responsible for content design & layout – Liaising with Graphic Designer.
  • Managed a team of 8 young writers, graphic designer, production and distribution Managers.
  • Liaised with Donors & Corporate Partners.



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