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Colombia: Soil Salinization Threatens Banana and Palm Production

30.11.2018

The University of Magdalena developed a series of conferences with national and international experts, to help strengthen the knowledge of agricultural research experiences, during this event, the Association of banana workers of Magdalena and La Guajira, Asbama, was in charge of leading the panel on 'Salinization of soils: threat to world agriculture', which was in the charge of engineer Fabián Fonseca.

During his speech, the agronomist from the Earth University of Costa Rica with a master's degree in Environmental Sciences, Fabián Fonseca, pointed out that according to the latest statistics from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, (FAO from its initials in English) 33% of the potential arable soils of the world are affected by salts and in Colombia, the floriculture, banana and African palm sectors have been affected by salinization.

In the case of bananas, production in the country, and especially in the departments of Magdalena and La Guajira, has been affected, since the El Niño phenomenon has caused a serious shortage of water, which has forced the use of underground water and less irrigation than the crops need accelerating the processes of salinization.

The processes are gradual and are affecting crop yields and increasing production costs, however, when the soil loses its structure, production is unfeasible and recovery times and costs are excessively high.

"Due to the above, it is necessary to have an integral management of such a complex problem that is based on permanent information monitoring of climate, soils, waters and production models. In addition, mathematical calculations for irrigation management should integrate the contributions of water salts and balance the contributions of fertilizers to achieve sustainable agriculture and soil conservation," said Fonseca.

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