Wednesday, February 8, 2023

World Soil Day

Soil is a world made up of organisms, minerals and organic components that provides food for humans and animals through plant growth. Like us, soils need a balanced and varied supply of nutrients in appropriate amount to be healthy.
Agricultural soils are the foundation of our food supply. But to keep our soils capable of delivering such an important ecosystem service, it is crucial to manage them with care. This year’s World Soil Day put emphasis on the importance of healthy soils for food production.
This year theme is “Soils,Where Food Begins” aims to raise awareness of the importance of maintaining healthy ecosystem and human well- being by addressing the growing challenges in soil management, increasing soil awareness and encouraging societies to improve soil health.
A healthy soil is the foundation of healthy food and a better environment. Despite all our technological developments, humanity still relies on the few centimetres of soils to survive. 95% of our food is produced by farmers in our soils. It all starts in soils…Where food begins.
Healthy soils provide plants with nutrients, 18 elements are essential for plant growth, Out of which 3 are obtained from the atmosphere by photosynthesis and the rest 15 elements comes from soils.
Agricultural systems lose nutrients with each harvest, and if soils are not managed sustainably, fertility is progressively lost, and soils will produce nutrient- deficient plants ultimately leading to the loss of their capacity to nuture life.Soil nutrient loss is a major soil degradation progress threatening nutrition. It is recognised as being among the most critical problems at a global level for food security and sustainability all around the globe. Over the last 70 years, the level of vitamins and nutrients in food has drastically decreased, and it is estimated that 2 billion people worldwide suffer from lack of micro- nutrients, known as hidden hunger because it is difficult to detect. The loss of soil fertility leads to low crop yields and crop failure,hunger, malnutrition and poverty.
Soil degradation induces some soils to be nutrients depleted losing their capacity to support crops, while others have such a high nutrient concentration that represent a toxic environment to plants and animals, pollutes the environment and cause climate change.
A recent study calculated that some densely populated district in Nagaland are experiencing a 40% loss in their agricultural yields due to poor land management and pollution.
Soil being vital for feeding the world. We know that Nature, Health and Food are all interconnected by supporting producers, and protecting and regenerating our soils, we can limit the impacts of climate change, reduce biodiversity loss and increase the efficiency and resilience of farming. Food productivity will not only become more profitable with healthier soils, but food will become healthier, more sustainable and plentiful.
Food and Agricultural Organisation, Director-General Qu Dongyu rightly pointed out that ,”Soils are vital for feeding the world, Healthy soils can sufficiently contribute to ending hunger andcan create a healthy planet , but only if we address soil global threats including nutrient imbalance”.
With the installation of soil testing laboratory in every districts of Nagaland, Soil & Water Conservation Department has started giving emphasis to balance and integrated use of fertilizer to maintain the soil health and soil fertility which is the basis for the sustainable profitability of farmer and utilizing optimum doses of fertilizers and cropping patterns according to the scientific recommendation which is the initial step toward sustainable farming.
When we support farmers in bringing back life to soils ….we are ensuring the future of our food and the planet.
Lastly, soils and what grows from the soil is precious, but according to the FAO we only have 60 years of top soil left.
So yes, on the surface world soil Day sounds a bit silly, but it’s worth digging a little deeper to find out how important it really is.
“The Nation that destroys its soils, destroys itself” – Franklin D Roosevelt.
Research,Demonstration & Training Centre, Sechü-Zubza, (Soil & Water Conservation
Department).

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