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World Soil Day marked in Tonga

Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 6/12/2019

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations together with MORDI Tonga this morning marked World Soil Day with the aim to raise awareness on the importance of soil quality for human well-being.

The concern is because 95% of food comes from the soil and hence, the need to address the issue regarding soil erosion for the future of food security in Tonga.

A specialist in soil agriculture – Dr. Siosiua Halavatau says, soil needs to be recognized and valued for their productive capacities as well as their contribution to food security and the maintenance of ecosystem services.

Meanwhile the assistant of food and agriculture Organization (FAO) – Paumolevuka Likiliki talks about the many benefits soil has.

Soil hosts a quarter of our planet’s biodiversity. Soil is one of nature’s most complex ecosystems and one of the most diverse habitats on earth. It contains a myriad of different organisms, which interact and contribute to the global cycles that make all life possible. Nowhere in nature are species so densely packed as in soil communities. A single gram of soil may contain millions of individuals and several thousand species of bacteria. However, this biodiversity is little known as it is underground and largely invisible to the human eye. The quality and health of soils largely determine agricultural production and sustainability, environmental quality and as a consequence of both, has a bearing on plant, animal and human health. Improving soil biodiversity is vital to ensuring soil health and future food and nutrition security.”

He also explained the main challenges faced by the people of Tonga especially with maintaining of soil.

We have learned that it is one form of soil degradation but it is the greatest threat to soil functions in many regions of the world closer to us here in Tonga. Coastal erosion is a significant problem in the island of the Pacific and with climate change putting soil at risks. Today 33% of land is moderately to highly degraded due to erosion, salinization, compaction, acidification and chemical pollution of soils. The current rate of soil degradation threatens the capacity of future generations to meet their most basic needs.”

World Soil Day 2019 is marked on 5th December every year.

The theme of the program for this year is – Stop Soil Erosion, Save our Future.

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