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World Food Forum: Exploring future soil and plant nutrition options

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Efforts to integrate and promote alternative fertilizer sources and pursue new technologies for cheaper, cleaner and more effective soil and plant nutrition were on the agenda at Thursday’s World Food Forum’s Science and Innovation Forum event. It was

The High-Level Ministerial Conference on Innovations in Soil and Phytonutrient Management, held at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) headquarters in Rome, discussed what must be done to ensure that the world’s soils can feed a growing population. was discussed. It’s damaging the earth.

soil problem

Soil is an essential ingredient for growing food and a key component of agrifood systems. Current and future food security depends on the ability to improve yields and food quality by improving soil fertility and plant nutrition.

Soil fertility is reduced by several factors, including soil erosion, nutrient imbalance, soil degradation factors such as salinity, and unsustainable nutrient management practices.

Topsoil, the most fertile layer of soil, is being lost as a result of a variety of factors, including unsustainable agriculture. Erosion is destroying an estimated 24 billion tons of fertile soil annually.

This is happening against the backdrop of a world population projected to grow to 9.7 billion by 2050, competition for land and water resources, and the effects of climate change.

In addition, vulnerable countries, especially in Africa, Latin America and Asia, are grappling with high fertilizer prices and lack of access to inorganic and organic fertilizers for smallholder farmers.


Addressing the Ministerial Conference, FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu made wide-ranging comments on soil health and the importance of innovation in maintaining it.

“Soil, we all know that this is not only a short-term problem, it is a long-term problem. but we need to do it for the next generation. It will take 40 years to do that,” said Qu.

The Director-General added that efforts should be based on science and technology, for example how to increase soil organic matter.

“For example, let’s do more in a practical and systematic way to design ways to reverse soil erosion, soil denaturation and soil salinity,” said Qu.

Mr Qu also stressed the need for investment, especially long-term investment, saying that soil mapping would reduce the need for fertilizers, and that scientific task forces would monitor and test over the long term to improve agricultural practices. Emphasis was placed on harmonizing with other measures. as tillage.

Better soil and plant nutrition

Five ministers and former ministers issued statements on their thoughts on key soil issues in their countries and efforts to maintain and improve soil health.

Participants included Oumar ibn Daud, Minister of Agriculture and Development, Chad; Omer Hussein Oba, Minister of Agriculture, Ethiopia; Redouan Arak, Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Morocco; Anshas Johnwe Maska, Zimbabwe’s Minister of Homeland, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, and William Dah, former Secretary of Agriculture, Philippines. The panel discussion was moderated by journalist Thin Lei Win.

Soil mapping was a frequent topic along with biofertilizers in statements and panel discussions. Soil data, agricultural policy, soil analysis, water resource conservation, soil health programs, modernization of soil management systems, investment and preparedness for climate change were all mentioned.

FAO Chief Scientist Ismahane Elouafi contributed to the session by summarizing the discussion highlights that information is the cornerstone of sustainable nutrition management. She also pointed to the consensus that sustainable soil management is one of the most cost-effective solutions for increasing the content of macro- and micronutrients in soil.

FAO is involved in a number of soil initiatives. These include the Global Soil Partnership, the Global Soil Doctors Programme, and the publication of reports containing the Global Assessment of Soil Contamination.

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