The fertilizer industry launches online platform of ideas for the International Year of Soils
Soil, like air and water is an essential natural resource necessary to support human life and has incalculable economic, environmental and social value. In addition, soil is the most significant medium for agriculture and is the most important natural resource for feeding and nourishing the planet. Despite its importance, soil around the world is being degraded at a large scale and at an alarmingly fast rate. Therefore, the United Nations declared 2015 the International Year of Soils (IYS).
Because of the unique role of fertilizers in replenishing soils of nutrients, IFA decided to join the Food and Agriculture Organization and many partners, through the Global Soil Partnership, to raise the visibility of soils globally. Soils are vital to our communities and livelihoods, and with soils being this year’s topic, this online platform will strive to raise awareness about their importance and the significance of keeping soils healthy and fertile, as well as their essential role in our ecosystem.
To date, the 40 video interviews featured on Growing Smart Together give a voice to scientists, farmers, policy makers, NGOs and business representatives to explain their own experience, views, and knowledge on soils. The testimonials address a range of themes related to soils, such as the importance of soils, ways to contribute to soils preservation, possible solutions to manage intensification of food production while preserving healthy soils, or challenges impacting soils in particular regions. “Most people equate soils with dirt. The objective of the Growing Smart Together online platform is to hear the voices of all those who work with soils to understand why soils are fundamental to human life and why it is not only a scientific but a societal issue as well”, says Charlotte Hebebrand, IFA’s Director General.
The International Year of Soils aims at achieving full recognition of the importance of soils in achieving food and nutrition security, in climate change adaptation and mitigation, essential ecosystem services, poverty alleviation and in sustainable development. IFA and all the organizations involved in the Global Soil Partnership hope to raise decision-makers’ awareness about the need for robust investment in sustainable soil management activities and advocate for soil-related initiatives in the context of the upcoming final iteration of the Sustainable Development Goals.
The Global Soil Partnership (GSP) is an interactive, responsive and voluntary partnership, open to governments, regional organizations, institutions and other stakeholders at various levels hosted at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. Maintaining healthy soils required for feeding the growing population of the world and meeting their needs for biomass (energy), fiber, fodder, and other products is one of the key guiding principles for the establishment of the Global Soil Partnership.