Soil health has suffered a lot over the years because of rampant agriculture. In fact, Maria Helena Semedo, a deputy director at the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization had commented that the world’s topsoil had become so degraded that it could only support another 60 harvests, in 2015.
Extreme reliability on chemicals, deforestation, monoculture, and poor farming practices have caused the soil to lose all the nutrients and fertility. It has been estimated that 75 billion tonnes of fertile soil is lost to land degradation every year. In fact, the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned that more than than 90% of all the Earth’s soils could be degraded by 2050 if we continued on the same path.
Improving the health of soil will is not only necessary to secure the future of the food availability for the growing population of the world, but will also play an important role in combating climate change. Scientists have explained that healthy soil can help in the fight against climate change. Soil holds three times more carbon than the atmosphere. It is estimated that increasing the amount of carbon in the soil by four parts to every 1000 would be the equivalent of locking up all man-made GHG emissions. The concept was explained at the Paris Summit in 2015 which in turn became the 4 per 1000 initiative and is now backed by 35 countries and over 1000 organisations.
In an effort to scale up the initiative at a global level at a rapid pace, World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) has launched The Business Case for Investing in Soil Health, a report that included a call to action for businesses to explore greater supply chain co-operation, public-private partnerships and landscape alliances that could help spread costs and risks of land remediation.
In their current state, the world’s soils are far from being a solution to global warming. But regenerative, or restorative, agriculture can change this, by encouraging farmers to adopt a mixture of techniques that improve soil health and promote plant growth. With more private entities stepping in to work towards inculcating best agriculture practices in their supply chains, nurturing the global soil back to health will no longer be an unachievable dream.
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The CSR Journal Team