SOIL should be politically recognised as a 'strategic asset', as its ability to produce food underpins peace and civil stability.

A new report from the Food & Global Security Network argues that defence departments globally should work with departments for agriculture and the environment to jointly oversee delivery of increased food sovereignty within nations and the regeneration of soil function. In the UK, this would mean the Ministry of Defence working directly with Defra.

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Network founder, Ffinlo Costain, said: "The right to affordable nutrition underpins peace and civil stability, but the impacts of climate disruption and biodiversity loss are already affecting food production. If we see a 2C rise in global temperatures, which now seems increasingly likely, we could experience extreme disruption in global food supplies. When food is scarce, prices rise, inequality increases and simmering resentments can turn rapidly into conflict and even war. Healthy soil and a balanced ecosystem are critical for food sovereignty and a peaceful society."

The report, titled 'Soil health: a national security profile', profiles the critical importance of soil health through the independent writings of 22 experts – military minds, NGO leaders, scientists and practical farmers, including the UK’s former Climate and Energy Security Envoy, Rear Admiral Neil Morisetti; Patrick Holden; Øistein Thorsen; Sue Pritchard; Martin Lines; Walter Jehne; Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin; and George Young.

Mr Costain said: "We urge governments and food businesses to take the security risks associated with soil degradation and ecological breakdown extremely seriously. We see agroecology as a low risk and low cost solution that can mitigate the security threats connected with poor soil health. With COP26 in sight, agroecology and regenerative farming can produce great food locally and at scale, while greatly accelerating carbon drawdown, regenerating biodiversity, and managing precipitation to provide greater drought resilience and better flood protection."

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