#WorldSoilDay: Soil conservation is everyone’s responsibility

It is the daily responsibility of every South African farmer and resident to conserve the country’s precious soil resources.

#WorldSoilDay: Soil conservation is everyone’s responsibility
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This was according to Chris van Zyl, assistant general manager of farmers’ association, TAU SA.

South African organised agricultural bodies support the principles behind the annual United Nations World Soil Day that is again being celebrated today, but this does not absolve the average person from their individual responsibility.

“TAU SA promotes the concept that, in fact, farmers are caretakers of their children’s inheritance and in that sense, a serious but voluntary custodianship rests on their shoulders. Society at large needs to assume responsibility for protecting the natural environment ensuring that health and wellbeing, along with nutritious food, benefit mankind,” Van Zyl said.

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He added that without this careful custodianship of vital resources like water and productive soils, farmers around the world would no longer be able to produce critically needed food and fibre for the planet’s growing human population.

Dr Hendrik Smith, conservation agriculture facilitator with Grain SA, said that his organisation viewed UN World Soil Day as “very important” because “soil is at the heart of conservation agriculture practices and critical to the sustainability of grain production in South Africa”.

“Yet, there is still a big knowledge gap and ignorance about soil health and its benefits among farmers and other practitioners. Any effort or initiative promoting sustainable soil management will and should be supported,” he said.

Smith explained that to assist in achieving the national promotion of soil conservation, Grain SA, with the support of The Maize Trust and the Winter Cereal Trust, continued to run its Conservation Agriculture Farmer Innovation Programme.

Three articles on soil you must read:

  1. How many harvests are left in your soil?
  2. How to cure your soil after years of nutrient depletion
  3. The role of earthworms in boosting soil quality



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Lloyd Phillips joined Farmer’s Weekly in January 2003 and is now a Senior Journalist with the publication. He spent most of his childhood on a Zululand sugarcane farm where he learned to speak fluent Zulu. After matriculating in 1993, Lloyd dreamed of working as a nature conservationist. Life’s vagaries, however, had different plans for him and Lloyd ended up sampling various jobs in South African agriculture before becoming a proud member of the Farmer’s Weekly team.