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World Soil Day |05 December 2022

World Soil Day

PHOTO:Jonathan Kemper/Unplash

Soils: Where food begins

 

UN General Assembly officially designated World Soil Day on December 5, 2014. Since then, annually the day is celebrated and the theme for this year is ‘Soils: Where food begins’.

The aims for this year’s campaign are to promulgate the importance of a sustainable healthy ecosystem and addressing the growing challenges of human wellbeing by addressing the growing challenges in soil management, while encouraging societies to improve soil health through soil awareness.

What is soil? It can simply describe as a particulate material, which mass consists of an accumulation of individual particles that are bonded together by mechanical or attractive means, though not as strongly as with rock. In soil, voids exist between particles, and the voids may be filled with a liquid (usually water) or a gas (usually air). As a result, soil deposits are often referred to as a three-phase material or system (solids, liquid and gas) (Pearson Education Limited 2014).

It is said through theological writing that in the beginning man was formed by soil dust and thus he was placed in the garden to dress and keep it. Nature, even in its primitive state, left room for the improvements of art and industry, making provision for life and earning our right to eat (Matthew Henry).

Agriculture was probably the first systematic use of soils, and the move to agriculture likely represented one of the first times that humans considered soil properties, be it directly or indirectly, in land use decisions. The earliest known evidence of agricultural practices was found from a site near the modern village of Jarmo in Iraq, where implements for harvesting and tilling were found dating back to 11,000 BC. (Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS).

Soil consists of different elements and matters which comprise living organisms such as fungi, microbes, including decomposed organic matter from plant and animal products. Soils also contain inorganic carbon in mineral form. The ability of soils to store up organic carbon is determined by the physical structure, or

aggregation, of organic and inorganic particles in the soil profile which is driven by biotic and physical factors.

The impact of the environmental climatic factors define the soil colour, texture, depth, land slope and PH. These factors will define the soil fertility which is the “ability of soil to supply plant nutrients”. Plant nutrients which are often scarce in soil are nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus since plants use large amounts for their growth and survival. (Desai Fruits & Vegetables Pvt. Ltd.2016).

In the early eighties in Seychelles, it was recorded by scientific research and analysis that there are five soil categories in Seychelles. They were classified as red earth soil, coralline sand (on outer islands), coralline sand (on granite islands), alluvial soil (along the streams), and marsh or peat soil (flat area near the coast).

Considering that each soil type has its own physical and chemical properties, therefore enriching them according to their nutrient’s deficiencies could be done in several ways such as: the use of chemical and organic fertiliser, such as N.P.K, urea, ammonium sulphate, composts, chicken little and cow manure just to name a few. Any of these components should be incorporated into the soil when doing intensive horticultural and food crop productions.

 

 

Did you know?

  • 95% of our food comes from soils.
  • 18 naturally occurring chemical elements are essential to plants. Soils supply 15.
  • Agricultural production will have to increase by 60% to meet the global food demand in 2050. 
  • 33% of soils are degraded. 
  • Up to 58% more food could be produced through sustainable soil management.  

Source: FAO Trello board

Contributed by Climate Research and Innovation Institute Seychelles (CRIIS)

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