Nigeria has emerged winner of the 2021 King Bhumibol World Soil Day (WSD) Award, instituted to recognise individuals and institutions that organised impactful WSD celebration.
The award was received by Nigeria`s Ambassador to Thailand, Amb. Oma Djebah, at a ceremony in Rio Et Province, Thailand, attended by Princess Maha Chakri-Sirindborn.
Prof. Victor Chude, Registrar and Chief Executive Officer of Nigeria Institute of Soil Science (NISS), described the award as a milestone for the country and the institute in particular.
Chude noted that it was the first time an African nation won the award since it was instituted in 2018.
According to him, it is a recognition of how Nigeria takes the issue of soil management and protection seriously and its desire to promote sustainable soil management in order to bequeath a healthy and productive food system.
“Also, the award brings visibility for the country and value for its soil resources.“This is a highly valued award where 48 countries competed,” he said.
Chude recalled that the institute had organised series of activities to mark the World Soil Day to raise awareness on the importance of healthy soils.
“These activities involved different actors in the agricultural sector including policy makers, representatives of the academia and industries.
“The institute coordinated educational projects in primary and secondary schools, organised rallies, road walks, expert’ dialogue and workshops.
“We also organised artistic performance like drama on healthy soils for healthy living, poetry session, on-farm trials on sustainable soil management practices, screenings on dangers of eroded soils as well as training sessions for soil stakeholders in parts of the country.
“Emphasis was placed on youth enhancing, children and teen knowledge on soils and their crucial importance for food security and climate change mitigation.”
He also said the events were widely disseminated via social, print and electronic media, and had reached around half a million people including scientists, government institutions, officials, students, farmers and general public.
“This group of people were introduced to the topic of soil biodiversity through online and print media, gadget distribution and social media campaign among others,” Chude added.
The 6th Global Soil Partnership Assembly endorsed the establishment of the annual King Bhumibol WSD Award.
By Felicia Imohimi