Go organic and plant more pulses like beans for good soil health in Pacific island countries is a call from the Pacific Organic and Ethical Trade Community (POETCom) as the world commemorates World Soil Day, today. POETCom that is housed in the Land Resources Division of the Pacific Community is also asking Pacific islanders to start questioning the source of their food if it’s organic or chemical, to read more and be aware of the negative impacts of chemical farming on human and soil health.
World Soil Day that is coordinated by the United Nations Food and Agriculture organization is focussed on the theme, ‘Soil and Pulses a Symbiosis for Life.’
Pulses like beans help fix nitrogen in the soil and produce a number of different compounds that feed soil microbes and benefit soil health. Healthy soils are the foundation for food, fuel, fibre and medical products. They are also essential to our ecosystem playing a key role in the carbon cycle, storing and filtering water, and improving resilience to floods and droughts.
Acting Coordinator of the Pacific Organic and Ethical Trade Community (POETCom) housed in SPC Stephen Hazelman said Mr Hazelman said that Pacific islanders must consider good soil health as a solution for good health and climate change.
“It’s why we are thankful to organizations like the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) and the European Union for the support provided for the development of organic agriculture in the region,” he said.
Organic farming practices protect soil health because they remove reliance on farming based on harmful chemicals that destroy soil life. Soil life accounts for two-thirds of the earth’s species. Soil organisms are the primary agents driving the nutrient cycling, regulating the dynamics of soil organic matter, soil carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas emission, modifying soil physical structure and water regimes, enhancing the amount and efficiency of nutrient acquisition by the vegetation and enhancing plant health.
“We are encouraging Pacific Island nations to increasingly make the transition to organic and sustainable agricultural systems that epitomize soil health,” he said. “Soil is an important resource for the stainable management of agricultural systems. “It matters now more than ever because we live in a changing climate that affects soil conditions.
“Chemical farming because of it devastating impacts on soil biology weakens the soil’s defenses to changing conditions and no amount of introduced chemical is going to boost soil productivity over long periods of time. “Organic farming on the other hand focuses on the structural, mineral and the biology of soil emphasizing the importance of the natural processes to maintain and rejuvenate soil health.”