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Symposium on soil

Symposium on soil

Dr Tekeste Yoseph  Oct 19, 2015

It is happy news to see a symposium on international level to be held from 24-25 November 2015 at one of our University in Hawassa concerning soil.  As it is implied would be jointly organized by the ministry of agriculture of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, the Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency, the International Potash Institute and Hawassa University. Well it is appreciable to give attention and focusing on our soil and conducting studies and researches on it.

Soil is not simple dirt as we see it and habitually call it. Shortly agricultural definition of soil is a dynamic natural body on the surface of the earth in which plants grow, composed of mineral and organic and soil is a crucial to life on earth supply us with nearly all of our food, except for what we can harvested from oceans.

As it mentioned, this focused and timely event will provide leading professional from Africa, Asia and Europe with an opportunity to be with Ethiopian researchers to an analyze findings from soil fertility mapping, potassium and the latest technology innovations in the sector.

This reveals generally exchanges experiences among the international professionals with our natives. Its profound provides many advantages for instance:

·         the participants will obtain and give more knowledge

·         It attracts more professionals and researchers for a work and studies in our country.

·         It is means of introduction our universities and research areas to others.

·         It opens door gate for scholar chances and opportunities for higher studies, researches for our students abroad.

·         It provides deep awareness about soil from top to bottom. This soil awareness should not be remained or limited on the top but must come down till the bottom to our farmers as well as to the whole soil users.

·         This international symposium is a means of income resources for instance hotels and touristic sites.

To come back to the main topic, soil is resource of our daily bread. The importance of soil are tremendous a lot and unlimited. To mention a few:

Soil is our source of food:-Farming soil is basic resource of life for plants, animals and human being.

§  It is a resource of all nutrients for our plants.

§  It is a resource material for our construction.

§  It is most important for our climate and environment sustainability.

The living being life depends on these elements air, water, and soil. The successive of agriculture depends and stands on rich soil and water. Even our civilization depends on soil and water resources.

Plants obtain their necessities from soil as physical support, air, water, temperature moderation, protection from toxins and nutrient elements ….etc

Protection from toxins- there are many potential sources of phototoxic substances in soils. These toxins may result from human activities, or they may be produced by plant roots, by microorganisms, or by natural chemical reactions. Many soil managers consider a function of good soil to be protection of plants from toxic concentrations of such substances by ventilating gases, or by suppressing toxin-producing organisms.

In the future soil will became even more crucial. According to the United Nations, the earth’s population is estimated reached 7 billion on October 31, 2011. The US Census Bureau made a lower estimate, for which the 7 billion mark was only reached on March 12, 2012. Some estimates expect it to reach 9 billion by 2050.

Yet only about 7 percent of the earth’s surface is suitable for agriculture and that figure is not going to increase. Of that land, some being list to degradation and urbanization.

Our earth’s population is annually extremely increasing unfortunately controversially our arable land enormously is degrading. Soil degradation is loss of soil quality through different calamities. For instance:

§  Extensively use of arable land.

§  Deforestation which leads to severe erosion at high level flooding.

§  Water erosion from land happened lack of protection our farm lands and generally bared landscapes exposed to erosion.

§  Wind erosion

§  Pollution by industrial chemicals, discharge uncontrolled industrial byproducts, oil spills, and many others.

§  Conversion of dry grasslands to desert called desertification.

§  Changes in soil chemistry such as severe changes in soil acidy.

§  Increase in soil salt levels, or salinization.

§  Loss of soil organic matter.

Urbanization: one of the factors of our world soil degradation is urbanization. Our country is best example of this matter as one of the fastest growing countries in the world and as 2nd populated country in Africa after Nigeria.  If we are looking and observing with our construction, roads, mining and quarry generally different infrastructure as a whole, all these are dealing with soil it means this is the most causes of degrading of our soil. These couldn’t be stopped as it is part our life and matter of existence.

Ø  The only thing what we must apply is management on soil on the activities and works with soil. There are different methods of managements we could apply them on soil. It depends on the type of project or work we are doing. Management on soil doesn’t give time it should be done on planning and at the spot of the works.

Soil degradation means water – quality problems global environment outlook 2000 estimates degradation 1.9 billion hectares, of land worldwide.

Once our soil is degraded, it is not easily replaceable and non renewable resource within the frame a human generation. Soil takes a long time to generate it if at all practicable.

A late – 2011 report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization ( the state of the world’s land and water resource for food and agriculture-2011) found a quarter of the world’s land to be highly degraded. It further noted that the world’s growers will need to provide 70 percent more food by 2050.

Many experts have noted that part of human history is rise and fall of cultures founded on the use, abuse and the final exhaustion of soil and water resource.

Soil and climate are two things inseparable coincide and mutual existing in the nature.

Our global changes will affect growers and other soil users. Climate could be affected through our usage of soil and in turn.  Soil interacts with the atmosphere by gas exchange. Example these gases are “green house gases” which they trap heat in the atmosphere such CO2 (carbon dioxide).

According to 2007 data of Agricultural sector contributes about 6% of the world’s green gases emissions. Soil is one of the planets reservoirs of carbon in the form of organic matter.

Soil management: Best soil management practices keep the soil covered as much as possible.  As I mentioned it above there are different methods of soil managements. Generally depends on the type of project or works we are doing. To mention a few concerning our agriculture:

§  Scientific using of soil

§  Applying fertilizers natural like green manure, dung, and compost…etc and artificial fertilizer first analyzing and studying deficit of the soil before applying.

§  Soil conservation aforestations and terracing sloppy landscape

§  Mulching

§  Cover cropping

§  Conservation tillage dramatically reduces erosion and pulling runoff

§  Stores more moisture in the field: this is what our government trying its best and investing a lot especially helps a lot for our current emerging drought in our different parts of our country.

§  Improving soil organic matter

§  Fallowing: if it is necessary especially if it is extremely degraded and if the output lower than costs of labour applied on the field.

Industrial and infrastructure matter: here a lot should be done in terms of protecting the degradation our soil. To mention a few as examples:

§  Strict law making in charge of pollution and discharging wastage from industries

§  Urbanization planning possibly avoiding most fertile arable land from urbanization and considering and protecting the neighbor arable land from wastage discharging.

§  All persons dealing with soil works should be give awareness of the necessity of soil and its management.


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