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FAO: Soil Degradation 'Alarming'

FAO: Soil Degradation 'Alarming'

23 April 2015

GERMANY - The importance of soils for global food production was highlighted by the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) at the start of Global Soil Week in Berlin.

Global Soil Week brings together more than 550 participants from 78 countries working on sustainable soil management and land governance.

Moujahed Achouri, Director of FAO’s Land and Water Division, said that healthy soils are the foundation of global food production and ought to become a key agenda item in public policy.

“Soils are essential for achieving food security and nutrition and have the potential to help mitigate the negative impacts of climate change,” said Mr Achouri, who added that pressures on soil resources are reaching critical limits.

In addition to sustaining 95 per cent of food production, soils host more than a quarter of the planet’s biodiversity, are a major source of pharmaceuticals, and play a critical role in the carbon cycle, he added.

At the same time, the level of soil degradation – estimated at 33 per cent globally – is “alarming” and has the potential to threaten food security and send many people into poverty, Mr Achouri said.

Sustainable soil management, in turn, can contribute to the production of more and healthier food.

The FAO called on the international soil community and policy makers to work together to reduce soil degradation and restore already degraded land.

This year’s Soil Week highlights the need for including soil issues in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that are currently being discussed.

“If humanity’s overarching need for food security and nutrition, climate change mitigation and sustainable development is to be met, soil resources have to be given the global attention they deserve,” said Mr Achouri.

TheCropSite News Desk

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