Agroecology Crucial to Restore Soils for Food Security
The dramatic increase in crop production of the last 50 years has come at high environmental costs. Twelvemillion hectares of agricultural soils are lost globally through soil degradation every year. Currently, about 33 percent of world soils are moderately to highly degraded. Forty percent of these soils are located in Africa and most of the remaining amount are in areas afflicted by poverty and food insecurity.
2015 is the FAO’s International Year of Soils. The FAO has released a factsheet on “Agroecology to Reverse Soil Degradation and Achieve Food Security”. Agroecology is part of the Strategic Framework of the FAO and the paper states that agroecology has proven to be an effective strategy to meet the global challenge of how to produce sufficient food for a growing population in the context of climate change while guaranteeing environmental restoration.
In Honduras, the adoption of agroecological soil conservation practices tripled or quadrupled maize yields for 1,200 families. Agroecology restores soil life by increasing and monitoring soil organic matter, facilitating and monitoring of soil biodiversity, and building on local farmers’ knowledge. Strategies employed include polycultures and agroforestry systems, cover crops and crop-livestock integration.
The full factsheet can be accessed at: http://www.fao.org/soils-2015/news/news-detail/en/c/317402/