Soil: Keeping Nutrients in Food and Carbon in the Ground

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Author: Lyndal Rowlands | Published: December 13, 2016 

Healthy soil not only makes food more nutritious it also helps keep carbon out of the atmosphere by storing it underground.

Yet around the world over 500 million hectares of soil has become degraded – leading to the loss of valuable nutrients as well as the release of carbon, speeding up the process of man-made climate change.

Climate change then in turn, affects crop productivity creating a negative cycle for farmers, Lucrezia Caon Global Soil Partnership Consultant at FAO told IPS.

“If we degrade soil they admit carbon dioxide (CO2), that fosters climate change, and climate change effects crop productivity,” she said.

IPS spoke to Caon at an event ahead of World Soil Day, which is marked on December 5.

The event focused on the special role of pulses in preserving soils.

2016 is International Year of Pulses, following on from 2015, which was the International Year of Soil.

Pulses include peas, beans, chickpeas and lentils. They are particularly popular in South Asia and Latin America.

Pulses are generally more popular in developing countries than developed countries, Caon noted.

“Seventy five percent of pulses are consumed in developing countries and only 25 percent in developed countries,” she said.

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