Speech at World Soil Day 2021 “Halt Soil Salinization, Boost Soil Productivity”, (in lieu of 5 December), Thailand

Your Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn
Excellencies, Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen

On behalf of FAO, I wish to express heartfelt congratulations to Thailand’s Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives and concerned organizations in marking this year’s World Soil Day. The theme for 2021 is: “Halt soil salinization, and boost soil productivity” so we can raise awareness to prevent human-induced soil salinisation and sodification. By doing so, we can safeguard soil health for better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life of everyone and everything.

Soil is the foundation of agriculture and an essential element for the provision of other goods and ecosystem services.

While soils are so essential for life on Earth, they continue to be threatened by multiple forms of degradation. In particular, salt accumulation which can be caused by unsustainable human activities such as irrigation with poor quality or insufficient water supply, deforestation, the unsustainable use of fertilizers.

These practices have severe impacts on some of the ecosystem services such as reduced agricultural productivity, increased soil erosion, reduced buffering, and filtering capacities against contaminants, and overall decreased soil fertility and micronutrient availability.

Salt-affected soils are found all around the world and impact some 833 million hectares of land.

Efforts must be made to prevent human-induced soil salinisation and sodification, and safeguard soil health. This event, and others like it around the world, will help to raise awareness about this important challenge.

Your Royal Highness, Excellencies, friends and colleagues

World Soil Day is held annually on 5 December as a means to focus attention on the importance of healthy soil and to advocate for the sustainable management of soil resources.

It was observed on the 5th of December each year in recognition of the official birthday of His Majesty the Late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, of Thailand, who was one of the main proponents of this initiative.

Again, I would like to congratulate the Royal Thai Government in organizing this World Soil Day celebration throughout the country.

I would also like to express our heartfelt appreciation to the Land Development Department on your contribution of one-thousand Soil Test Kits to the Global Soil Partnership to be used in the Global Soil Doctors Programme.

I again reiterate FAO’s recognition of the tireless efforts and dedication of His Majesty the late King in soil resource development and I wish you all a very successful and memorable event on this most important of days.

Let’s work to “Halt Soil Salinization and Boost Soil Productivity”

Happy World Soil Day everyone!

Thank you