The ENVIS Centre at the Institute of Forest Genetics and Tree Breeding (IFGTB), Coimbatore, conducted an awareness campaign on Monday to commemorate the World Soil Day. A release said that the awareness event on the theme ‘Soils: where food begins’ found place in the worldwide events organised by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations.
IFGTB director C. Kunhikannan, pointed out that soil is essential for the maintenance of biodiversity above and below the ground. Soil contains millions of organisms including earthworms, nematodes, mites, insects, fungi, bacteria and actinomycetes and preserves clean water and helps to regulate the climate and it is the basis for sustenance for all living things, he said.
Group Coordinator (Research) R. Yasodha, highlighted that soil degradation reduces agricultural yields and threatens farmers’ livelihoods. Soil that has been leached off its nutrients cannot support crops, or plants that prevent desertification. Healthy soil is essential to ensure a steady supply of food and biodiversity and soil loss translates into widespread poverty and slower economic development, she said.
Senior Principal Scientist and ENVIS coordinator Kannan C.S. Warrier explained that soil salinisation and sodification are major soil degradation processes threatening ecosystem and are recognised as being among the most important problems at a global level for agricultural production, food security and sustainability in arid and semiarid regions.
An awareness quiz on soil was also organised for students and the general public. An awareness poster highlighting this year’s theme was released during the occasion. Senior Programme Officer (ENVIS) S. Vigneswaran was present.