Sustainable soil management for a healthy life

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations is organizing a workshop entitled “Sustainable Soil Management for Nutrition-sensitive Agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia” on Thursday in the auditorium of the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council in Dhaka. – Photo of the press release.

Speakers at a workshop in Dhaka underlined the need to promote sustainable soil management for nutrition-sensitive agriculture, which is essential for healthy living.

They said that sustainable soil management practices such as farming communities and integrated fertility strategies increase soil organic matter and ensure the availability of macro- and micronutrients in the soil.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations organized the workshop in the auditorium of the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council in Dhaka on the occasion of the completion of the project entitled “Sustainable Soil Management for Nutrition-sensitive Agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia”.

“Global land degradation is estimated at 33 percent, and policymakers around the world are looking for SDG implementation solutions to address this challenge,” said Robert D. Simpson, FAO representative in Bangladesh.

To improve the nutritional value of locally grown food, the Bangladesh government and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s Global Soil Partnership initiative launched the project in September 2019 with funding from the federal government, according to a published FAO press release.

Agriculture Minister Md Sayedul Islam was present as the main guest at the workshop, while Florian Höllen, Head of Development Cooperation, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, Md Kamaruzzaman, Director General, Soil Resource Development Institute, and Kabir Ahamed, Joint Secretary and Wing Chief (UN), Economic Relations Division, chaired by Shaikh Mohammad Bokhtiar, Executive Chairman, BARC, among the guests of honor at the event.

Carolina Olivera Sanchez from FAO Headquarters, Italy, gave an overview of the project, which aims to promote and support the use of sustainable soil management for nutritionally sensitive agriculture.

Intensifying agriculture with nutrient-rich, high-yielding varieties can lead to a decline in soil fertility, threatening long-term food and nutrition security, the speakers said.

The project was carried out by the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council and the Soil Resource Development Institute of the Ministry of Agriculture.

In addition to Bangladesh, the FAO has also carried out the initiative in Malawi and Burkina Faso, according to the press release.

Project activities included field demonstrations in three upazilas in Bangladesh, as well as baseline survey among 600 farmers, 45 field demonstrations, awareness training for 180 stakeholders and soil doctor training for 450 farmers.

More than half of Bangladesh’s people are malnourished and 450,000 children suffer from severe acute malnutrition, it said, adding that consuming nutrient-poor staple foods grown on nutrient-poor soils is a potential contributor to nutritional deficiencies.

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