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Global steps needed to ensure sustainable use of soil

Published : 28 Jan 2022 09:43 PM | Updated : 29 Jan 2022 03:45 PM

Collective global initiatives are needed to ensure sustainable use of soil. In this regard, developed countries and international organizations to adopt a comprehensive program and called for increased cooperation in developing and least developed countries. The Minister of Agriculture Dr Mohammad Abdur Razzaque made the call by virtually attending the 'Berlin Conference of Agriculture Ministers' on Friday evening local time.

The conference was organized by the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) on the last day of the 14th Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA). Due to the Covid-19 situation, this time the virtual conference has been held. The conference, titled 'Sustainable Land Use: Starting Food Security from Soil', was attended by agriculture ministers from more than 70 countries and representatives of 10 international organizations. Agriculture Minister Dr Mohammad Abdur Razzaque highlighted the challenges of sustainable use of soil in Bangladesh and the initiatives taken by the Bangladesh government to address them. He said that in a populous country like Bangladesh, maintaining soil health and sustainable use is very challenging. There are problems such as excessive use of soil, soil erosion, pollution, salinity, climate change, soil nutrient depletion, soil erosion, etc. to meet the growing food demand. Moreover, urbanization, industrialization, agricultural land is declining per year due to various reasons. At a rate of 43%. The Government of Bangladesh is taking and implementing various short-term and long-term programs with utmost importance for sustainable use of soil.

Dr Mohammad Abdur Razzaque added that developed countries and international organizations need to take concerted and vigorous action to protect soil health, ensure sustainable use of soil now and in the future, and protect the ecosystem. Besides, they have to stand by the side of developing and least developed countries and come forward to increase cooperation.

The conference was attended by German Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture Azdemir, EU Commi­ssioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Janusz Uzzczykowski, WTO Deputy Director General Jean-Marie Pagam and other agricultural ministers.

According to the conference, 80% of global food production is dependent on soil. Soils around the world are under threat today. Urbanization, industrialization, construction of infrastructure, reduction of land productivity, pollution, salinity, desertification due to various reasons. But more land is needed to meet the food needs of the growing population, as food demand is increasing.

With this in mind, in the last five days, high level representatives of different countries have prepared a 'Joint Manifesto' (Communication). To ensure sustainable use of soil and food security, the Joint Declaration emphasizes the importance of four issues and pledges to work together on 29 issues (Call for Action).

At the conference, 4 issues were emphasized and discussions were held. First, soil erosion must be prevented. How to protect soil quality and ecosystem. Because, one-third of the species lives underground.

Second, the development of degraded soils. According to the FAO, 33% of the world's soil has already been degraded, which is alarming. Because, it takes about 2000 years to develop 10 cm of soil. In addition, food prices are expected to rise by 30 per cent in the next 25 years due to soil erosion. Third, sustainable use of limited land and how to protect agricultural land.Fourth, how farmers can  get land ownership. Food security will be possible only if the real farmer owns the land. However, it is estimated that over the next 5 years, 1 billion people worldwide will lose or evict ownership of their own land  property.

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