International Year of Soils launched in El Salvador

FAO and the Government of El Salvador launched the International Year of Soils on 26 February

The event was chaired by the representative of FAO in El Salvador, Alan González Figueroa; Minister of Environment and Natural Resources (MARN), Lina Pohl ; Minister of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG), Orestes Ortez ; in addition to a number of representatives from international organizations, government, NGOs, academia, and other sectors.

With 95% of our food directly or indirectly produced on our soils, soils are vital for food security and nutrition, in addition to the provison of key ecosystem services.

During the inauguration of the IYS in El Salvador, the FAO representative, Alan González Figueroa, emphasized that the main goal of  the Year is to create awareness about the role of  "healthy soils for a healthy life". Stressing FAO' s technical support, Mr González said that soil degradation must be stopped in order to ensure sufficient supplies of food, water, energy and raw materials for future generations.

The Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, Lina Pohl , noted that soils are linked directly to the preservation of ecosystems, a cornerstone of the National Biodiversity Strategy . All living organisms that eat , grow, reproduce and move through the soil, make it possible to have clean water, clean air and healthy plants . The Minister of Agriculture and Livestock , Orestes Ortez, added that about 80% of soils in El Salvador are currently in a state of degradation.

MARN is already driving strategic actions to address the problem of land degradation in the country. These include the preparation of the first National Climate Change Plan, where restoration and soil conservation are of fundamental importance; the enhancement of information technology to protect natural resources; and, the restoration of ecosystems and landscapes in five strategic areas.

In 2014, MAG with the National Center for Agricultural and Forestry Technology (CENTA) implemented a soil restoration project on an area of 1 200 manzanas (one manzana is approximately 1.736 acres). During 2015, MAG is planning to recover more than 1,000 manzanas of land, with the collaboration of the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE). The aim is to continue to restore soils and increase production in El Salvador with a view to reducing vulnerability and increasing food security and nutrition of the population through sustainable land management.

Globally , soils are in danger due to the expansion of cities, deforestation, unsustainable land use and management practices, pollution, overgrazing and climate change . The current rate of degradation threatens the ability to meet the needs of future generations.

For this reason, specific objectives of the IYS include the support of effective policies and actions for sustainable management and protection of soil resources; and promotion of investment in sustainable soil management activities to maintain healthy soils for different land users.


El Salvador

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