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Launch: International Year of Soils

December 5th marks celebrations and worldwide events for World Soil Day, including the launch of the International Year of Soils 2015. Ahead of the launch, Farming First TV spoke to Ronald Vargas, of the Global Soil Partnership at the Food and Agriculture Organization, about why the United Nations agency has declared an International Year of Soils in 2015.

Mr. Vargas explains that although soil is crucial for food production, and human health is dependent on nutrients “the knowledge on how to handle nutrients is not…shared.” An International Year of Soils, he explains, could bring together lots of different initiatives, to join forces to bring the issue of soil health to the global food security agenda.

Mr. Vargas also discusses the need to reduce the cost of technologies that test soil quality, to make them more available to farmers. He uses the example of the Soil Doctor Program in Thailand, which trains farmers to use simple kits to test neighbours’ lands and then advise how to improve their soils.

Watch more video interviews on the Farming First YouTube Channel

Robynne Anderson

Robynne has extensive experience in the agriculture and food sector, working throughout the value chain – from basic inputs to farmers in the field to the grocery store shelf. She works internationally in the sector, including speaking at the United Nations on agriculture and food issues, and representing the International Agri-Food Network at the UN.Throughout her career she has worked with farm organisations like the Prairie Oat Growers Association, the National Smallholder Farmers Association of Malawi and the Himalayan Farmers Association, as well as global groups, to further the voice of agriculture in the food debate. She has also worked with Fortune 500 companies growing worldwide businesses to assist them with issues management and strategy decisions.

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