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Establishment of the Brazilian Soil Partnership in the framework of the official launch of the largest soil programme of Brazil (Pronasolos)

Photo caption: Natalia Rodriguez signing the agreement together with the representative of the Ministry of Agriculture Livestock and Food Supply, Jefé Ribeiro.

17/08/2018

On 16 August 2018 in Rio De Janeiro, during the 21st World Congress of Soil Science (WCSS) and as part of the official lunch of the largest soil programme of Brazil "PronaSolos, Programa Nacional do Solos do Brazil" the Brazilian Soil Partnership was established.

The Minister of Agriculture of Brazil, Blairo Maggi, attended the ceremony and the FAO Global Soil Partnership (GSP) representative, Natalia Rodriguez signed the agreement together with the representative of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply, Jefé Ribeiro.

During the ceremony the status, needs and priorities for sustainable soil management in Brazil were presented. This was indeed a fruitful base for exploring options for collaboration in the country and in the region through the Latin America and the Caribbean Soil Partnership. 

The Memorandum was prepared by the interested parties. In the signed document the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply gives full support to the GSP, the Regional Partnership and its new born country branch - the Brazilian Soil Partnership - and expressed the need for strengthening the soil institutions through capacity development and investing in sustainable soil management practices. Updating and upgrading of soil information, addressing soil degradation, implementation of sustainable soil management with focus on soil health/fertility and capacity development in all the soil related applications are listed as the main areas of action. It is expected that a plan of action will be jointly developed and that the different partners will advocate for the promotion of sustainable soil management in the region.

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Currently, Brazil only has general soil surveys with small scale maps, with less than 5% of the national territory having soil maps on a scale of 1: 100,000 or greater. The surveys show the soil properties that affect land use, as well as the exact location of each type of soil in a given area in the form of maps. Soils usually vary widely, even at short distances, and different soils have distinct properties, with potentials and limitations more or less suitable for various uses, whether urban or rural.

The lack of detailed information on Brazilian soils is therefore a serious problem for national development. Upon becoming aware of this situation in 2015, the Court of Auditors of the Union decided that a plan of measures for the creation of a national soil program should be drawn up. A working group was formed by researchers from several units of Embrapa, IBGE, SBCS, CPRM, UFRRJ, UFPI, UDESC, UFLA and the Ministry of Agriculture, who formulated a document the creation of the so-called National Soil Program of Brazil (PronaSolos), which will provide, within 30 years, adequate information to guide land use throughout Brazil.

Over the next 30 years, PronaSolos will involve dozens of partner institutions dedicated to the research, documentation, inventory and interpretation of Brazilian soil data. The objective is to map the country's 1.3 million km2 soils in the first ten years, and another 6.9 million km2 by 2048, in scales ranging from 1: 25,000 to 1: 100,000. The data generated by PronaSolos will subsidize public policies in rural and urban areas, at national, state and municipal level, bringing numerous benefits to society by enabling, among other things:

  • Land-use planning for urban sprawl, indicating, for example, the most suitable soils and sites or their limitations for the construction of different types of infrastractures;
  • The prediction and consequent precaution of occurrences of catastrophes;
  • Land use planning in rural areas, showing the areas of greatest potential for agroforestry production or expansion, soil limitations and the expected productivity for each crop in a given area;
  • The most appropriate management planning for each crop in the field, as well as conservation practices that reduce or eliminate soil erosion, loss of rainwater, sedimentation of rivers, floods and risks of natural disasters;
  • The most appropriate evaluation of the price of land for purchase and sale;
  • Support the granting of agricultural credit, reducing risks for both farmers and creditor banks.

Soil and environmental information from previous works and those generated by PronaSolos will be systematized in a single database available to society. This will generate an invaluable legacy for Brazil.

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