Healthy soils are foundation of food production

| Updated Feb 05, 2017 at 9:00am



The importance of healthy soils as the foundation of food production was stressed by the UN agriculture agency on Monday.

Moujahed Achouri, Director of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)'s Land and Water Division, spoke at an event to mark Global Soil Week in Berlin, Germany.

Global Soil Week is being observed from 19 to 23 April to highlight the importance of land and soil in achieving sustainable development goals.

Cathrine Hasselberg has more.
Global Soil Week is bringing together more than 550 participants from 78 countries working on sustainable soil management and land governance.

Mr Achouri said that soils are essential for achieving food security and nutrition and have the potential to help mitigate the negative impacts of climate change.

The FAO official pointed out that in addition to sustaining 95 per cent of food production, soils host more than a quarter of the planet's diversity.

Soils, he added, are also a major source of pharmaceuticals and play a critical role in the carbon cycle, which is the circulation and transformation of carbon between living things and the environment.

Mr Achouri warned that the level of soil degradation, which is estimated at 33 per cent globally, is "alarming" and has the potential to threaten food security and send many people into poverty.

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

SOURCE: Cathrine Hasselberg, United Nations