Promoting soil health could help achieve SGDs

 Photo credit: SciDevHealth

Image credit: Hailey Tucker, One Acre Fund

  • Focus on soil health to achieve SDGs

    “Many of us fail to consider the importance of preserving the health of the earth’s soils for now and generations to come.” 
     David Guerena and Margaret Vernon, One Acre Fund

    Speed read

    • In Sub-Saharan Africa, about 65 per cent of soils are degraded
    • Promoting soil health could lead to biodiversity and increased productivity
    • The results may take time, but promoting soil health could help achieve SGDs

    EXCERPT

    Crucial and last frontier

    Seventy per cent of poor people in rural areas depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. [4] These rural areas comprise large numbers of smallholder farmers, who cultivate less than two acres of land.

    Lacking access to quality inputs, tools training, and financing, smallholder farmers are often at the mercy of unproductive soil. Promoting soil health, through strategies such as agroforestry, intercropping and composting is one important way to increase the productivity of these small plots of land.

    These strategies could help smallholder farming communities increase their resilience to environmental shocks and grow their way out of hunger and poverty.

    Soil is the greatest reservoir and the last frontier of biodiversity. Most known antibiotics come from organisms that were isolated from the soil. The soil biosphere controls the cycling of most major plant nutrients, such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulfur. What other secrets are held in the soil biosphere? In one gram (one pinch) of soil, there are over one billion individual organisms and over one million unique species! [5] We know less than one per cent of who they are and less than one per cent of one per cent of what they do.

    Read the full article: SciDevNet

     

Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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