Ninety per cent topsoil likely to be at risk by 2050: FAO

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New Delhi: UN Food and Agriculture Organization, FAO said that 90 per cent of the Earth’s precious topsoil is likely to be at risk by 2050 and warned that equivalent of one soccer pitch of earth erodes, every five seconds.

The agency also called upon more action by countries and partners who’ve signed up to the Global Soil Partnership (GSP) over the last decade.

The UN agency has suggested five key actions points to protect the soil and land restoration such as, tasks civilians, governments and international institutions, with taking greater action to monitor and care for soil.

“One achievement of GSP, thus far, has been the partnership with farmers and local governments to enhance soil health” FAO said in a statement .

“Programmes have been initiated to improve the amount of organic matter in soil, “by adopting practices such as using cover crops, crop rotation and agroforestry”, It said.

Costa Rica and Mexico have signed up to these pilot schemes and trained farmers in the use of best practices which include using so-called “cover crops” that prevent erosion, crop rotation and tree planting.

Furthermore, the GSP has expanded data collection in the form of digital soil mapping. This technology informs policymakers of relevant soil conditions and empowers them to make informed decisions on managing soil degradation.

The FAO also has, through the GSP, called for the coordination and integration of sustainable practices through investment in development and education.

These carefully planned programmes facilitate the transfer of information and technology concerning soil health. These networks harmonize methods, units and information relevant to soil analysis.

“Similarly, the highly technical nature of topsoil policy debate, can alienate constituencies who might otherwise be concerned and engaged on such an important environmental and social issue,” FAO states.

Campaigns, such as the International Year of Soils and World Soil Day are designed to raise youth awareness of soils and increase participation in preventing further degradation.

“While the work of the GSP represents the efforts of non-State partners to promote sustainable soil practices, State policymakers are necessary actors in implementing a sustainable soil policy” said FAO

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