The UN General Assembly has declared 2015 to be the International Year of Soils (IYS). The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) is actively reinforcing this in partnership with governments and the UN Convention to Combat Desertification secretariat. The purpose of IYS 2015 is to raise public awareness of the importance soil has in the challenges we face in food production and security, climate change adaption and poverty alleviation.

NewForesight ignites sustainable market transformations, and soil health plays a vital role in this. We contribute to the Save Our Soils (SOS) campaign initiated by Nature & More, and work to incorporate sustainable soil management practices in sustainable value chain transformations.

In a time when current and future food security is at the top of the international agenda, keeping our soils healthy is one of the biggest challenges we face. 95% of our calorie intake comes, either directly or indirectly, from soil. The quality and quantity of the world’s soils directly influences both the quality and quantity of our food. As the UN estimates that we lose 12 million hectares of land to soil depletion and desertification due to agriculture every year, it is not a surprise crop yields and the nutrient density of those crops are declining. Currently, an estimated 33% of the world’s soil is moderately to highly degraded due to erosion, nutrient depletion, acidification, salinization, compaction and chemical pollution.

Expanding the land we use for agriculture is not always an option. In most of South-East Asia, the Middle East and North Africa there is little room for expanding arable land. An almost 80% crop yield increase could be gained on average by better land management, including better soil practices. Recognizing the importance of sustainable soil management is a step towards a sustainable and food secure future.