Turkey closes the International Year of Soils with notable achievements on awareness raising

FAO-2International Year of Soils has been full of opportunities for promoting the importance of soils in Turkey. FAO Turkey taking the lead on promoting the year with “healthy soils for a healthy life” slogan, events involved government institutions, civil society and private sector to provide a platform for advocating sustainable soil management for productive food systems, improved rural livelihoods and healthy environment.

“Raising public awareness on soils is fundamental for our mandate. Sustainable development will not be achieved if soils are not given the consideration they deserve.” said FAO Subregional Coordinator for Central Asia and Representative in Turkey Yuriko Shoji, speaking at the World Soil Day that was hosted by the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock of Turkey on December 5.

A national soil-related project fulfilled one of the objectives of the year which is to increase the capacity for soil information collection and monitoring at all levels. The spatial mapping of soil properties database in Turkey was successfully completed this July, thanks to the FAO-Turkey Partnership Programme.

The project enables to monitor the levels of soil organic carbon content, soil fertility properties and potential chemical fertilizer consumption in Turkey. Combining the Ministry’s soils sample archives with FAO’s technical expertise, the spatial mapping-which will be accessible to farmers and policy makers- can contribute in great extent to national climate change action plans.

A social responsibility project recently launched in November was one of the remarking initiatives that aims at educating children in primary schools on the vitality of soils and water. By maintaining the momentum that International Years of Soils created, the campaign was launched jointly by the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock and Ministry of Education. FAO Turkey has been providing its technical knowledge for the education materials that will be disseminated in seven pilot cities of Turkey in the first year of the campaign. The project is expected to expand 30 metropolitan cities of Turkey in its second year.