World Soil Day today...

Dhaka, Wednesday   26 January 2022

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World Soil Day today

 Staff Correspondent

 Published: 08:33 AM, 5 December 2021  

Photo: Collected

Photo: Collected

The World Soil Day-2021 is being observed in the country as elsewhere across the globe on Sunday highlighting the importance of taking care of soil and conserving soil biodiversity.

The theme of this year's World Soil Day is "Halt soil salinization, boost soil Productivity". 

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

On the eve of the day, President M Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina issued separate messages wishing success to all the programmes adopted on the occasion of World Soil Day-2021.

In his message, President Abdul Hamid welcomed the initiative of the Soil Resources Development Institute of the Ministry of Agriculture to celebrate 'World Soil Day-2021' on December 5 like every year.

He said salinity destroys soil's productivity and ecosystems, and threatens agricultural production and food security. The saline soil of the coastal areas is one of the degraded soils of Bangladesh, he added. 

"I think the theme of this year's World Soil Day `Halt soil salinization, boost soil Productivity' is time befitting in this regard," he said.

The President said salinization is the common phenomenon of any coastal region of the world and Bangladesh coast is not free from such type of natural hazards. 

"Bangladesh has a vast area of coastal region that accommodates more than 35 million people," he said, adding that salinity is considered as the main obstacles to crop production. 

However, this vast area has a great potentiality for agriculture, he continued. 

Mentioning that the soil and water of this region are associated with different levels of salinity, the President said: "I think coastal embankment, construction of dam and sluice gates, zoning of coastal salinity areas, plantation programmes and public awareness programmes can contribute to uphold the sustainable livelihood in the coastal region of Bangladesh."

"The future of our food security will largely depend on our ability to produce food in marginal lands such as the coastal salt belt. For this, crop selection, cultivation methods, social activities and use of modern technology are important," he said. 

Abdul Hamid said the government has formulated "Delta Plan-2100" with the aim of achieving the status of a prosperous and developed country by addressing the long standing challenges for sustainable management of water, climate, environment and land system. 

He urged all concerned to come forward to implement this goal through planned and sustainable land management.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, in her message, said as sea level is rising due to climate change, a vast area of Bangladesh will be affected by salinity which will have a detrimental effect on crop cultivation in coastal areas. 

Noting that soil salinity disrupts normal crop production, she said the problem of soil salinity has become a concern of agricultural scientists all over the world including Bangladesh. 

Scientists from different countries as well as scientists from different agricultural institutes and Soil Resource Development Institute in Bangladesh are continuously researching of soil salinity management strategies, she mentioned.

 The premier said about 53 percent lands of the coastal areas of Bangladesh are directly affected by salinity. 

At present, this salinity-affected area is increasing beyond the coastal areas of the country, she said. 

According to Salinity Survey Report-2009 of Soil Resource Development Institute, about 1.056 million hectares of arable lands in Bangladesh are affected by various levels of salinity, she mentioned. 

Meanwhile, she said, Soil Resource Development Institute has developed a number of technologies for crop production in saline areas, which are being disseminated among the farmers. 

"Due to salinity, the cropping intensity of this area is only 189 percent. Most of the lands in this area remain fallow during the dry season," she said. 

The Prime Minister said the Awami League government is always sincere in agricultural development. 

"We're providing fertilizers and seeds at subsidized prices to increase crop production. Subsidies are being also provided for the purchase of machinery for agricultural mechanization. The COVID-19 pandemic could not stop the progress of our agriculture development," she said. 

  For sustainable soil management, policies need to be formulated and implemented in a scientific manner, she added. 

She said in order to expand technological innovation for saline soil management, researchers, scientists, teachers and farmers need to raise awareness about the impact of saline soils on agriculture and the environment. 

In order to determine the best way to control soil degradation, it is necessary to gain more detailed knowledge about saline soils, the Prime Minister added.