Every year on December 5th, we celebrate a day of global significance – World Soil Day. This year’s theme, Soil and Water – a Source of Life reflects the importance of the six inches of soil that nourish the ecosystem and eight billion humans. A growing global population exerts pressure on the soil to feed more people.
Soil and water are intricately intertwined. Agriculture is the major user of both resources. The intimate balance between the soil and water determines the fertility of the land, the health of crops and livestock, and the well-being of communities. Our One Health undoubtedly depends on the health of the soil.
To afford a resilient and food-secure future in the face of a climate crisis, the way we practice agriculture needs to change. We need to derive agripreneurship and innovation that drive sustainable practices and ensure our harmonious coexistence with nature.
Knowing that the soil is the basis of our agricultural systems, enabling us to survive and thrive, we cannot afford to be antagonistic to its health. Unsustainable agricultural practices such as monoculture and intensive use of agrochemicals damage the soil, it can accelerate erosion, reduce organic matter and fertility, induce soil salinity, and contribute to contamination.
Agripreneurs have a major role to play in cultivating a future where agriculture not only sustains life but also regenerates the ecosystems upon which it depends. The Agripreneurship Alliance is at the forefront of this charge. Through its flagship programme, the Entrepreneurship in Agribusiness Course, the Alliance trains young African Agripreneurs to understand the indispensable role of soil in their endeavours. The Alliance shares this commitment with other stakeholders such as Rootical, a Ugandan start-up studio that enables purpose-driven entrepreneurs to build regenerative agri-food companies. Rootical seeks to engender and sustain regenerative agriculture which conserves and rehabilitates the soil within Uganda starting with a cohort of entrepreneurs.
The Rootical model looks to established entrepreneurs’ creativity, innovation, and a shared commitment to nurturing the earth to build soil health, enhance biodiversity, improve water use and waste management, reduce greenhouse emissions and sequester carbon, and ultimately increase farm resilience and climate adaptation.
As we celebrate World Soil Day 2023, we are reminded of the profound impact that soil and water have on the success of agripreneurship and vice versa. Accordingly, we reiterate Agripreneurship Alliance’s commitment to supporting agripreneurs on their journey towards sustainable practices. Through knowledge-sharing, capacity-building, collaboration, and partnerships, the Alliance strives to create an ecosystem where agripreneurs can thrive while prioritising the health of our soils and water resources. We invite everyone to join hands in this journey towards a more resilient, sustainable, and thriving agricultural landscape.
John Mugonya, Programme Manager
5 December 2023