Checking soil quality Peter Parks/Getty Images

Ilmu Pengetahuan Mengenai Tanah untuk Memenuhi Kebutuhan Pangan

AUBURN, ALABAMA – Menurut Persatuan Bangsa-bangsa, populasi manusia pada tahun 2050  akan mencapai hampir sepuluh milyar orang dan hal ini akan memberikan tekanan yang besar pada sistem-sistem paling penting, seperti pertanian. Bagaimana petani – termasuk para petani miskin di negara berkembang – meningkatkan produktivitas hasil pertanian untuk memenuhi permintaan pangan yang terus meningkat?

Memenuhi permintaan pangan dengan cara yang efisien bukanlah hal yang mudah, dan banyak hal yang tidak kentara seperti perubahan iklim, konflik, dan ketersediaan air bersih yang akan memberikan tantangan tersendiri terhadap upaya tersebut. Teknik pertanian baru yang menggunakan data dan drone untuk memantau kondisi tanaman tentunya akan mempermudah pemenuhan kebutuhan pangan. Namun, salah satu metode terbaik untuk meningkatkan hasil pertanian secara berkelanjutan adalah dengan memanfaatkan apa yang telah ada di tanah. 

Mikroba yang secara alami terdapat di tanah dapat membantu merawat tanaman dan meningkatkan hasil pertanian. Namun, pengelolaan tanah yang buruk dapat menyebabkan hilangnya mikroba tersebut. Dengan meningkatkan jumlah mikroba di tanah yang kurang subur, maka produktivitas pertanian dapat ditingkatkan tanpa adanya ketergantungan terhadap barang-barang yang mahal seperti pupuk dan pestisida, dan hal ini akan membantu memenuhi tantangan yang berat untuk memenuhi permintaan pangan yang kian meningkat dan pada saat yang sama juga melindungi lingkungan.  

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