We’re running out of agricultural soils: Nobel Peace Prize

IRAPUATO, Gto. (OEM-Informex). Rattan Lal, 2007 Nobel Peace Prize winner and World Food Prize, assured that it is time to change the paradigm of agriculture in the world, where on the one hand the soils used for crops should always have vegetation, while the lands must stop being plowed, and on the other, they have to begin to return land to nature and it can regenerate, because in the future there will not be optimal soils to produce food.

Rattan Lal, who was part of the Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Climate Change that in 2007 obtained the Nobel Peace Prize, offered a keynote conference in virtual format during the Global Forum Agri-food carried out in Irapuato and pointed out that the formula to obtain more food is not to have more areas with agricultural vocation, on the contrary, it is about reducing the area and thereby returning land to nature and thus resources can be regenerated, so the bet must be to produce more food with fewer resources.

“The objective is to produce more with less and the strategy is that we use less land, less water, less fertilizers and pesticides, we generate fewer greenhouse gas emissions, so that then we can give a little more land to nature, because humans are using too many fields, “he warned.

Rattan Lal even projected that if five billion hectares are currently being used worldwide to produce food, the ideal is that by 2030 only one billion hectares will be used for agriculture and the other four thousand returned to nature.

The idea is to be able to create a balance. Soil is like a bank account: it will increase if we deposit more than what we withdraw, so we must use optimal soils and return marginal ones to nature “, he commented and recalled his iconic phrase:” soils, like all beings alive, they also have rights ”.

Crop residues must be used

Rattan Lal He explained that one of the common mistakes that have damaged soils worldwide is that at the end of the harvest, the fields are left without vegetation and the soils lose nutrients.

“The idea is to encourage producers to keep the soil always vegetated and that in the low season the soil is not plowed, since all residue from the previous harvest must be left on the surface of the soil, thereby protecting it from rain. , from the wind and from high and low temperatures.

“(…) Therefore, it is important to introduce a buffer zone between humans and wildlife and, in addition, returning areas to nature is very important, since the premise is that humans should think about saving land, we are on time, “he said.

The American scientist of Pakistani origin explained that currently 30% of the world’s surface is degraded and the most critical areas are in the Caribbean, the Himalayas and Sub-Saharan Africa and one of the causes of this is the depletion of nutrients, due to agricultural practices that cause these to disappear from the soil, without being able to become biomass.

Soil health, vital in combating food poverty

Rattan Lal commented that the fight against climate change must also consider soil health as a priority issue.

“Life depends fundamentally on the health of the soils, today we see that 840 million people suffer from food insecurity and not because we are planting more are we feeding more. We must restore the health of the soils through agricultural practices that have less carbon emissions, ”said Lal.

For this reason, he highlighted the importance of the recently formed Coalition of Action 4 for Soil Health, called CA4SH for its acronym in English, in which public and private actors are brought together, with the aim of promoting improvements to soil health. all over the world, especially considering that 80% of carbon is in soils, which represents a problem, but also an area of ​​opportunity to reverse it and there can be sustainable food production and healthy soils that allow biodiversity .

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We’re running out of agricultural soils: Nobel Peace Prize