Soil fertility is declining due to non-stop crop cultivation on the same land and frequent application of pesticides, which can lead to loss of agricultural productivity in the long run, experts said at a seminar organised on the occasion of World Soil Day 2020 on Saturday.
This year, the theme of the World Soil Day is "Keep soil alive, protect soil biodiversity". ARM Solaiman, former professor, Department of Social Sciences, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Agricultural University presented the main article.
According to the main article, uncontrolled use of pesticides and non-stop cultivation on the same land has resulted in the inability of the soil to absorb the nutrients required to maintain good health. This is reducing the fertility of the soil, which will affect productivity over time.
Speaking as the chief guest, Agriculture Minister Dr Md Abdur Razzak said, "People's livelihood and food security depend on sustainable soil management. There arecurrently 17 crore people in the country; this figure is growing, with 22 lakh people being added every year. On the other hand, due to industrialisation, urbanisation and construction of houses and roads, the cultivable land is shrinking. Climate changepresents another challenge."
He further said in this situation, the importance of soil for food and nutritional security of the people of Bangladesh is immense. To ensure this, a sustainable production system is critical, along with an increase in grain productivity. That is why the soil must be kept alive, and soil quality must be maintained.
However, other speakers emphasised the use of integrated pesticides to maintain the quality of the soil.
Sheikh Mohammad Bakhtiyar, executive chairman of the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council, said, "The intensity of our crop cultivation has increased but if you can't keep the soil healthy, you will have to suffer in the long run. Therefore, to maintain productivity, it is necessary to use fertilisersthat are compatible with the organic matter of the soil."
The Food and Agriculture Organisation representative in Bangladesh Robert D Simpson said soil constitutes the habitat of a quarter of the world's biodiversity. An essential component of healthy soil is its biodiversity. Protection of biodiversity will improve soil health, which, in turn, will yield safe and nutritious food. But the biodiversity of the soil is currently at risk, which has become a matter of concern, and one of the reasons for this is the lack of sustainable soil management.
Fisheries and Livestock Minister Sham Rezaul Karim distributed prizes amongst the winners of Soil Care Award 2020 at the event. This year, the Soil Care Award was presented to mango farmer Md Matiur Rahman, at the farmer level;amongst educationalists, the award went to Md Rafiqul Islam, professor of Soil Department, Bangladesh Agricultural University, and soil scientist Dr Z Karim.
At the end of the event, the agriculture minister unveiled the publications "Soil Museum Software" and "Land Degradation in Bangladesh".