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Rattan Lal and IICA join forces with Conscious Planet to raise global awareness of the importance of soil health

Top: Manuel Otero, Director General of IICA; and Rattan Lal, Director of the Center for Carbon Management and Sequestration (C-MASC) at The Ohio State University. Bottom: Jorge Werthein, Special Advisor to the Director General of IICA; and Sadhguru, leader of the Save Soil initiative and the organization Conscious Planet.

San Jose, 6 May 2022 (IICA) - Conscious Planet, the organization led by Sadhguru (who also spearheads India’s soil health movement), and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) will join forces to create a global agenda recognizing the importance of restoring soil health for food security and the fight against climate change.

The agreement was reached in a virtual meeting by Sadhguru, whose Save Soil initiative has inspired millions of people around the world; Rattan Lal, Director of the Center for Carbon Management and Sequestration (C-MASC) at The Ohio State University; and Manuel Otero, Director General of IICA.

Lal and IICA launched “Living Soils of the Americas” in December 2020. To date, the initiative has made significant progress in coordinating public and private efforts in the fight against soil degradation, a phenomenon that threatens to undermine the capacity of countries to sustainably meet the food demand.

“We must work to promote public policies and farmer initiatives to ensure a minimum soil organic matter of between 3 and 6%. Not one country in the world has this today”, explained Sadhguru, who for three decades has raised awareness in different international forums on the consequences of soil degradation and was awarded India’s highest environmental award, the Indira Gandhi Paryavaran Puraskar, in 2010.

Sadhguru clarified that, from his point of view, this objective should be separate to fertilizer and pesticide use reduction goals, which cannot be uniform across regions and agricultural production.

“In my experience,” he said, “the need for fertilizers and pesticides to obtain a good harvest is not always alike; and so, this point should be very specific. Instead, we should create incentives for farmers to ensure a minimum organic content in their soils”.

The leader of Conscious Planet, who asserts that abandoning the soil is abandoning the planet, explained that “not even 2% of farmers in India want their children to continue on as farmers, which likely means hard times are coming for food production. We must create incentives for farmers and it is also important to simplify the carbon market”.

“This alliance between the Save Soil and Living Soils of the Americas initiatives is especially important in times like these, when the world is threatened by three simultaneous crises: climate change, the war in Eastern Europe and COVID-19. All three of these problems can be addressed by prioritizing soil health and transforming scientific knowledge into action, which is what IICA works for constantly”, said Rattan Lal.

In turn, Manuel Otero stated that: “We have 16.5 million small-scale farmers and 60 million people living in rural areas; but perhaps our greatest challenge is creating expectations to engage the new generations in food production and persuading them of the importance of restoring soil health”.

“We’re ready”, concluded the Director General of IICA, “to join forces and we know we cannot waste more time. Our priority must be to convince the youth of the importance of soil health for the future of food production and of humanity in general”.


More information:

Institutional Communication Division