FAO Current Affairs

5 December: World Soil Day

The World Soil Day is celebrated every year on 5th of December by Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. It aims to communicate messages on the importance of soil quality for food security, healthy ecosystems and human well-being.

The Theme for year 2017 is ‘Caring for the Planet starts from the Ground’. The theme seeks to highlight importance of soil in human livelihoods and increase in degradation of soil resources worldwide due to inappropriate management practices, population pressure driving unsustainable intensification and inadequate governance over this essential resource.

Importance of soil

Soil is the upper layer of earth. It is mixture of organic and inorganic matter, in which plants grow. It is a finite natural resource. On a human time-scale it is non-renewable. According to FAO, soil holds three times as much carbon as atmosphere and can help to meet challenges of a changing climate. 95% of our food comes from soil and 33% of global soils are already degraded.


The International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) had adopted resolution proposing 5th of December as World Soil Day in 2002 to celebrate importance of soil as critical component of natural system and as vital contributor to human wellbeing. Later in June 2013, the FAO Conference unanimously endorsed World Soil Day and requested official adoption at 68th UN General Assembly. In December 2013, 68th UNGA declared 5th of December as the World Soil Day.


India to become largest milk producer in 2026: OECD-FAO report

According to recently released OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2017-2026, India will be the world’s largest milk producer by 2026 and will account for the biggest increase in wheat production globally.

Key Highlights of Report

Population Growth

Over the ten-year outlook period, world’s population will increase from 7.3 to 8.2 billion, with India and Sub-Saharan Africa accounting for 56% of total growth. Given their strong population growth, India and Sub-Saharan Africa will also drive a large share of global food demand. India’s population will grow to 1.5 billion from 1.3 billion, an increase of almost 150 million. India will overtake China to be the most populous country in the world by 2026.

Calories and protein consumption

Additional calories and protein consumption over the outlook period are expected to come mainly from sugar, vegetable oil and dairy products. By 2026, average calorie availability is projected to exceed 3000 kcal per person per day in other developing countries and reach 2450 kcal in least developed countries. Food insecurity and malnutrition in all its forms will remain persistent global problem that will require a coordinated international approach. Growth in demand for meat is projected to slow, with no new sources of demand.

Global food commodity prices

The global food commodity prices are projected to remain low over the outlook period as demand growth in a number of emerging economies is expected to slow down. Real prices are expected to remain flat or decline for most of the commodities. Agricultural trade is also expected to grow more slowly, but remain less sensitive to weak economic conditions than other sectors.

Milk production

Over the first quarter of the 21st century, milk production in India will be nearly tripled. Over the course of the outlook period, milk production in India will grow 49% and in 2026, India will become the world’s largest milk producer, with an output one-third above European Union, second largest producer.

Wheat Production

Global production of wheat is projected to increase by 11% over the outlook period, while the wheat area will increases only by 1.8%. The increase in wheat production is expected to occur through higher yields, most notably in Asia and Pacific, which will account for 46% of additional wheat production. Within the region and globally, India (15 million metric tonnes) will account for the biggest increase in production. Pakistan (6 Mt) and China (5.5 Mt) are also expected to have significant gains. The European Union will account for 13% of the production increase.

Rice production

Rice production is expected to grow by 66 Mt and will be exclusively driven by yield growth, which will account for 93% of additional production. The global area dedicated to rice production is expected to increase by only a 1% from the base period, while global yields will increase by 12%. Major production gains are projected for India, Myanmar, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam with yields expected to increase by over 15%.


FAO: It is Rome based specialised agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger across the world.

OECD (The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development): It is Paris based an intergovernmental economic organisation with 35 member countries, founded in 1960 to stimulate economic progress and world trade.