Thailand's SFST scoops World Soil Day Award
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Thailand's SFST scoops World Soil Day Award

The Soil and Fertilizer Society of Thailand (SFST) won the King Bhumibol World Soil Day Award 2023, a title conferred by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.

The UN in December 2013 officially designated Dec 5 as World Soil Day to acknowledge his lifelong work and honour His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej The Great for his significant contributions to improving living conditions in communities through sustainable soil management.

The move also supports the UN's sustainable development goals in environment management, food security and eradication of hunger.

The award is sponsored by Thailand and the FAO, which was established in 1945 to encourage countries all over the world to launch sustainable soil management activities to achieve the UN's goals.

Rapeepat Chantarasriwong, director-general of the Agriculture Department who also chairs the SFST, yesterday told the media the SFST won the award this year.

He said the SFST launched a soil management activity last year under the concept of "Soils, Where Food Begins" to raise awareness of soil conservation for sustainability and emphasise the role of soil as the start of food and supporter of many lives.

Government agencies, the civil society sector, privately-run foundations and the agricultural sector, including the World Soil Association, Agri-Nature Foundation, the Department of Land Development, the Agricultural Department, Kasetsart University and Maejo University, all contributed.

The effort was later vetted by a UN committee comprised of representatives from soil resource-related organisations, which named the SFST as the winner.

Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn presided over the opening ceremony of the World Soil Day event yesterday, which was organised by the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, at Khao Hin Sorn Royal Development Study Centre in Chachoengsao.

It was also Her Royal Highness who bestowed the King Bhumibol World Soil Day Award upon the SFST on behalf of the UN.

"It is a source of pride for all Thais to receive the award this year and for the first time in the past 10 years," deputy government spokeswoman Rudklao Suwankiri told media.

Deputy Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Anucha Nakasai has instructed all relevant agencies, particularly farmers, to be aware of the importance of soil and water and lead conservation efforts, Ms Rudklao said.

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