Forum in SQU Addresses Soil System as Foundation of Food Security

The Department of Soils, Water and Agricultural Engineering at the College of Agricultural and Marine Sciences at Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) organized a forum on Soil Cosmos as a Foundation of Food Security with the participation of researchers from the Netherlands and Oman.

The event was held today under the patronage of Dr. Seif bin Rashid al-Shaqsi, Director of the Directorate General of Million Date Palm Plantations Project of the Diwan of Royal Court.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Said al-Ismaily, Assistant Professor in the Department, said that healthy soils are essential for achieving food security and nutrition and ensuring the planet’s biodiversity. At the same time, the level of soil degradation globally is alarming and has the potential to threaten food security and send many people into poverty. Sustainable soil management, in turn, can contribute to the production of more and healthier food, he noted.

Prof. Johannes Bouma, Emeritus Professor, Wageningen University and Research Centre, the Netherlands, gave the keynote address on the role of soils as a central pillar towards food security. Prof. Bouma said that food security has to be seen in the broader context of sustainable development considering economic, social and environmental aspects. The holistic approach encompasses ending hunger, achieving food security, improving nutrition and promoting sustainable agriculture (food). Currently, the major threats to food security includes soil erosion, organic matter decline from soils, contamination of soils and water, salinization and compaction of soils, he said.

Prof. Rashid al-Yahyai, Dean of the College of Agricultural and Marine Sciences spoke about research studies from Oman that address rich crop productivity from poor soils. Dr. Rashid al-Abri from the Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources spoke about the situation of water resources in Oman. Dr. Abdullah al-Ghafri from Nizwa University spoke about the sustainability of aflaj systems in Oman. Graduate and undergraduate students from the Department of Soils, Water and Agricultural Engineering also gave presentations on soil and water management.

Source: Oman News Agency