Soil health at risk: are we destroying our food supply?

Soil health at risk: are we destroying our food supply?


Soil health has become an issue of global concern because of its impact on food security, the environment and human health. As the world’s population grows and the demand for food increases, so does the pressure on soil. Soil quality and fertility are threatened by unsustainable agricultural practices, pollution and climate change. Soil erosion, acidification and chemical contamination are just some of the problems facing soils around the world. The need to protect and maintain soil health has therefore become a priority for society. This article explores the importance of soil and how its degradation affects our planet and our survival.

The NOVASOIL Project aims to promote investment in soil health through the co-development of innovative business models by using key and policy-relevant indicators
Figure 1. Soil degraded by the accumulation of municipal solid waste.

Soil health problems in the world

Soil health is essential for environmental protection and food production. There are different soil types and climatic conditions around the world that affect soil quality and nutrients. Here are some key facts about soil health around the world:

  • According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), 33% of the world’s soils are degraded due to unsustainable agricultural practices, pollution and climate change.
  • Soil erosion is one of the most serious threats to soil health. Worldwide, some 24 billion tonnes of fertile soil are lost to erosion every year.
  • Soil acidification is another major problem. According to the FAO, 30 per cent of the world’s soils are affected by acidification, which reduces the availability of nutrients to plants and limits agricultural production.
  • The overuse of chemical pesticides and fertilisers also affects soil health. These products can contaminate soil and water, reduce biodiversity and harm human health.
  • Some regions of the world are more affected by soil degradation than others. According to the FAO, Africa, Asia and Latin America are the most affected regions, with 50%, 38% and 24% of their soils degraded respectively.
  • Soil health is vital for food production. According to the FAO, 95% of the food we eat comes from the soil. It is therefore essential to protect soil health to ensure food security and human well-being.

In conclusion, soil health is a critical issue today that requires urgent attention. We need to adopt sustainable agricultural practices and reduce the use of chemicals to protect soil biodiversity and ensure safe and healthy food production.

The NOVASOIL project aims to promote investment in soil health through the co-development of innovative business models using key and policy relevant indicators.

We invite you to contact us and get involved in our activities so that together we can give our community a voice and a vote for a more prosperous and sustainable future for all!

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