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World Soil Day: Understanding the Importance of Soil Conservation & Ways to Preserve it

To raise awareness about soil and its importance, World Soil Day is celebrated every year on 5th of December.

Abha Toppo

Soil is important as it provides the medium for the growth of plants, habitat for several insects and organisms. It is made up of minerals, organic matter and air in different proportions. Soil is also the source of four important 'living' factors i.e. food, clothes, shelter and medicine. Thus, conservation of soil is essential. To raise awareness about soil and its importance, World Soil Day is celebrated every year on 5th of December.

Theme of World Soil Day 2022

The theme of World Soil Day 2022 is "Soils: Where food begins". It aims to create awareness about the importance of maintaining healthy ecosystems & human well-being by tackling the growing challenges in soil management, and motivating everybody to improve soil health.

On World Soil Day every year, different programmes and events are held to tell people about the importance of soil in their lives.

Why 5 December has been chosen as World Soil Day?

The date 5th of December was selected because it corresponds with the official birthday of the King of Thailand, late H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who was one of the main proponents of this initiative.

Understanding the Importance of Soil Conservation

Soil conversation is basically the method to conserve or preserve soil. There are numerous reasons for the loss in soil fertility like over-use, erosion, salinisation & chemical contamination. Soil erosion takes place when the top soil gets removed. This top soil is essential for nutrients, micro-organisms, which are necessary for plant growth and shine. There are several ways to conserve soil and below we have mentioned a few of them.


How to Conserve Soil?

Here are few ways in which we can preserve soil:

Green Manures

Green manures are grown to fertilise the farmland on which it grows. This method can improve the structure of the soil and restrain the growth of weeds.

Crop Rotation

In order to make soil valuable in nutrients crop rotation method is followed. Like radishes and turnips are rotated with various cash crops to maintain the nutrient value of the soil.

Terrace farming

It is a process of carving multiple, flat levelled areas into hills. This is done to prevent run off & hold the soil nutrients in the beds.

Contour Ploughing

In place of planting the crop, contour ploughing is done to obtain the desired farmland. This is done for farmland on slopes to avoid run off and improve crop yields. To reduce the soil erosion, ploughing is done along the contours of the land.

Salinity Management

When water evaporates from the soil, salt is left which can further damage the soil, and nutrients can be lost. Humic acids are used to avoid this. In addition, saltbush is also grown to revive the soils and replace the loss of nutrients.

Industry Expert's Views on World Soil Day:

Pankaj DwivediHead of Agronomy & Partnerships, nurture.farm said that the most significant challenge agriculture faces today is to build, maintain and conserve soil fertility & soil health. Soil wellness is one of the keys to solving food security, food safety, climate change, and even impact economic growth for rural communities.

It takes approximately 500 years for a 2.5 cm layer of fertile topsoil to form under agricultural conditions. We have already degraded over 33% of the soil, which could go as high as 90% by 2050. We continue to lose 24 billion tonnes of fertile soil annually to erosion, and that's 3.4 tonnes lost every year for every person on the planet.

It's about time we invest in soil wellness programs to give ourselves a fighting chance to solve food security & climate change. A typical soil wellness program leverages science, data, and testing to gather soil intelligence and offers solutions to mitigate soil degradation and improve soil health in the long run.

Successful soil wellness interventions include adopting sustainable practices & frameworks, innovative crop recommendations, nutrition-related advisory, practices that increase SOC content, and technologies that help optimize water usage.

When implemented at scale, soil wellness programs can significantly impact the farmer's income, increasing between 3,000 INR to 7,000 INR per acre. Today, let's pledge to invest in soil wellness programs & do our best to nurture our farms, as there will be no life without soil.

Speaking on the occasion, Akhilesh Jain, Co-Founder, Agrotech India said that soil is a world made up of organisms, minerals, and organic components that provide food for humans and animals. Every year, December 5th is celebrated as World Soil Day to raise awareness about soil health, sustainable management of soil resources, soil nutrient replenishment etc.
Maintaining soil health is one of the key factors contributing to sustainable agricultural productivity. Globally, the soil health decline is noticeable from declining productivity growth rate in the production of food grain crops as well as emergence of multiple nutrient deficiencies in major crop production systems.

In present scenario, where conventional agriculture techniques are taken over by new technologies like IoT, Drones, Satellite Imagery etc., can benefit the farmers and producers to maximize yield, reduce disease and optimize resources. Sensors mounted on tractors are linked to satellites and can analyze the amount of irrigation, fertilizer or nutrient required by the soil. With a significant number of satellite launches, it is now possible to monitor extensive areas in near real-time and gather insights for developing a standard soil quality monitoring infrastructure that can equip organizations in various sectors with decision-useful data.
Soil supports life. Healthy soil is essential to end hunger and achieve food security and improved nutrition. Therefore, It should be the prime focus to act for soil preservation and restoration in order to build the sustainable developmental goal.

Let's together pledge to conserve soil, stop soil erosion and save our future...

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