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The Nigerian Institute of Soil Science (NISS) won the King Bhumibol World Soil Day Award 2020

Thailand’s King Bhumibol prize went to NISS for raising awareness on the importance of healthy soils. 

01/12/2021

The Nigeria Institute of Soil Science (NISS) won this year’s King Bhumibol Word Soil Day Award (WSDA) for its commitment to raising awareness of the importance of healthy soils, particularly during last year's World Soil Day (WSD) celebration, which addressed soil biodiversity under the motto "Keep soil alive, protect soil biodiversity". 

The awarding ceremony will take place in Bangkok on 2nd December and will be presided by Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand. The Ambassador of Nigeria to Thailand will receive the medal on behalf of the NISS.

NISS is the organization responsible for the coordination, guidance and management of those working in soil science, research and education/training in Nigeria. In this capacity, NISS guarantees improved soil management that embraces the highest standards of environmental sustainability and ensures increased agricultural productivity and food security in the country.

NISS organized a series of events on 3-5 and 11 December 2020 to mark WSD by involving different actors across sectors. NISS coordinated educational projects in primary and secondary schools, organized rallies, road walks, experts’ dialogue conferences, symposia, workshops, artistic performances (i.e. drama ‘Healthy Soils for a Healthy Living’, Poetry session), on-farm trials on sustainable soil management practices, screenings: “Do you Know the dangers of eroded soils?” and FAO’s “Keep Soil Alive, Protect Soil Biodiversity”), and training sessions to reach out to all soil stakeholders in the country. The celebrations were widely disseminated online throughout the week and were relayed at the national level by six national dailies reaching around half a million people in Nigeria. NISS placed particular emphasis on youth enhancing children and teen knowledge on soils and their crucial importance for food security and climate change mitigation. As a result, the institute reported that many students seemed interested and motivated to pursue soil studies as a future profession.

More than 100 million people listened to interviews broadcast on the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and the African Independent Television (AIT).  Celebrations engaged more than 6 000 people, including citizens, scientists, government institutions, officials, students, farmers and the public that were introduced to the topic of soil biodiversity through digital and print media, gadget distribution, and social media campaigning. Goodwill Ambassadors such as Mrs. Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire - Senior Special Adviser to the President on Sustainable Development Goals; Arc. Kabiru Ibrahim – President of All Farmers Association of Nigeria; Prof. Garba Hamidu Sharubutu - Executive Secretary, Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN); Innocent Okuku - Vice President, West African Fertilizer Association and Guest Lecturer Prof Rattan Lal (Distinguished University Professor of Soil Science and Past President, International Union of Soil Science (IUSS) made headlines on WSD.

BACKGROUND

Launched in 2018, the King Bhumibol World Soil Day Award acknowledges individuals or institutions that raise public awareness on soils by organising successful and influential World Soil Day celebrations. The award, sponsored by the Kingdom of Thailand, is named after King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand for his lifelong commitment to raising awareness on the importance of sustainable soil management and rehabilitation for food security, poverty alleviation and more. 

 

Former winners of the King Bhumibol World Soil Day Award include Practical Action in Bangladesh in 2018, the Costa Rican Soil Science Society (AACS) in 2019, and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research - Indian Institute of Soil Science (ICAR-IISS) in 2020.

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