Soil is the source of 95% of our food. Its non-degradation is a matter of life

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Land degradation threatens global food security and sustainability (Rafael Rodriguez/Getty)

There are several facts or facts that may be useful to consider today, including that 95% of the food of the Earth’s population comes from groundAnd this healthy soil is the basis for producing healthy food. Soil is also the largest reservoir carbonafter the oceans, and play a key role in mitigating the crisis Climate change. In addition, the number of living organisms in a tablespoon of soil is greater than the number of humans on our planet. Soil is a “world” composed of living organisms, minerals and organic components that provide food for humans and animals.

And just like humans, soil also needs a balanced and diverse supply of nutrients in the right amounts to be healthy. Agricultural systems lose nutrients with each harvest, and if the soil is not managed sustainably, its fertility gradually declines, resulting in nutrient-deficient plants.

The loss of soil nutrients is one of the most important soil degradation processes threatening nutrition, and one of the most important global problems in terms of Food safety and sustainability around the world. Thus, World Soil Day, which falls on December 5, is this year called “Soil: Where Food Begins”.

According to the organizers of this day on the United Nations calendar, the level of vitamins and nutrients in food has decreased considerably over the past seventy years. It is estimated that two billion people worldwide suffer from a micronutrient deficiency, known as “hidden hunger” because it is difficult to detect.

Soil degradation leads to the loss of certain types of nutrients, and thus the soil loses its ability to “sustain life”, while other types contain a high concentration of nutrients which unfortunately represent a toxic environment for plants and animals, pollute the environment and contribute to climate change.

This year’s World Soil Day aims to raise awareness of the importance of maintaining healthy ecosystems and human well-being by addressing the growing challenges of soil management, raising awareness about soils and encouraging communities to improve their health.

Of the 18 natural chemical elements essential to plants, 15 are provided by the soil. Agricultural production must increase by 60 percent to meet food needs by 2050, and sustainable land management can increase food by 58 percent. However, 33 percent of the world’s soils are degraded due to population growth, which increases the demand for food production, which stresses the soil.

It should be noted that the International Union of Soil Sciences had submitted a proposal in 2002 to establish the celebration of World Soil Day on its specified date, considering the importance of soil and the fact that it is It is an essential part of the natural system and its vital contribution to human well-being. But the case was not approved until 2013, at the request of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and it was celebrated for the first time on December 5, 2014.

According to the FAO definition, the most widely recognized function of soil is to support food production. Soil is the foundation of agriculture, the medium in which nearly all food-producing plants grow. It is estimated that 95% of our food is produced directly or indirectly in the soil. Healthy soil provides the essential nutrients, water, oxygen and root support that food-producing plants need to grow and thrive. Soil also forms a protective shield for weak plant roots against extreme temperature fluctuations.

Earlier this year, FAO called for soil conservation and the prevention of land degradation, at the annual World Forum for Food and Agriculture in Berlin. At the time, FAO Director-General QU Dongyu explained that the tide of land degradation must be reversed if we are to feed the world’s population, indicating that unsustainable agricultural practices, overexploitation of natural resources and growing Demographics exert increasing pressure on the soils, from which more than a third suffer.

According to recent estimates by FAO experts, land degradation could lead to the elimination of 75 billion tons, in addition to a loss of 10% of agricultural production, by 2050. Qu Dongyu said that Earth’s growing population needs “more food that is nutritious, safe and free from contaminants and pathogens”, and so “countries must make a stronger commitment to sustainable soil management” .


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