Sustainable soil: The most cost-effective way to eradicate poverty?

    A smallholder farmer in Kenya hard at work preparing the soil for planting. Sustainable soil management brings the quality of soil and land back into focus. Photo by: CIMMYT / CC BY-NC-SA

    What is the most cost-effective way to eradicate poverty?

    Sustainable soil management, according to former Finnish President Tarja Halonen, who stressed that soil not only plays a crucial role in food production, but that methods to preserve its quality are inexpensive and almost fool-proof.

    “If you made a mistake, getting back to healthy soil is a different issue,” Halonen told Devex. “But getting a ‘circle’ of soil preservation is very cost-effective.”

    We caught up with the co-chair of the U.N. Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on Global Sustainability on the sidelines of Global Soil Week, an international conference that took place this week in Berlin, organized by the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies and led by Klaus Töpfer, former German Environment Minister and head of the U.N. Development Program.

    Halonen said that if we want to guarantee a decent life for every citizen on our planet, we must make sure everyone has access to water and food.

    “We should also be considering the changing climate. Soil is crucial for each of these issues. It preserves water and plays an important role in its quality. It also guarantees a healthy environment,” she added.

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    About the author

    • Komila Nabiyeva

      Komila Nabiyeva is a freelance journalist and a communications consultant based in Germany. She has reported for a variety of media outlets, including the Guardian, Deutsche Welle and GEO, focusing on environment, climate change and development politics. Her latest consultancy was with the U.N. Convention to Combat Desertification. Her regional interests include the EU, Germany, Russia and Central Asia.