Objectives of ESFAS
The Federation shall aim at promoting researches in soil and related sciences and disseminating the acquired knowledge and technology for the benefit of the member societies in the region of East and Southeast Asia. By doing so, the Federation shall contribute to the sustainable development of the region through harmonization of agricultural production and environmental protection.
The Federation shall also aim at promoting the effective participation of member societies and of individual soil scientist of the region in the work of the International Union of Soil Sciences.
History: Foundation of ESAFS
At the 13th Hamburg International Congress of Soil Science Society (ICSS) in 1986, a working group (WG) on Paddy Soil Fertility was established and Prof. Hidenori Wada, University of Tokyo, was elected as the first Chairman of the WG. Prof. Wada made every effort to organize the first symposium at Chiang Mai, Thailand, with cooperation of Dr. Samarn Panichapong, Secretary of the WG and then Advisor of IBSRAM (International Board for Soil Research and Management). In December 1988, a symposium was held with the general theme “Paddy Soil Fertility: Past, Present and Future”, and attended by 180 scientists from 15 countries. The success of the symposium clearly showed that there was sheer need to enhance opportunity for exchange of information in rice research and technology among the countries with rice-based farming systems as an important component of their agriculture.
During the same period of time, while preparing for the 14th International Congress of Soil Science (ICSS) to be held at Kyoto, Japan, in 1990, the Japanese Society of Soil Science and Plant Nutrition (JSSSPN) was examining, under the leadership of Ex-President Dr. Akira Tanaka, a plan to establish a regional body to promote researches specifically related to rice cultivation in Monsoon Asia. The plan was adopted and formally resolved at the Annual Meeting of the Society in April 1990 and the task was handed over to Prof. Kazutake Kyuma, Kyoto University, then newly elected President of the Society. Prior to the Kyoto Congress of ICSS, Prof. Kyuma sent by mail an appeal of the JSSSPN to the soil science societies within Monsoon Asia to set up a regional body of academic societies working in the fields of soil science, plant nutrition and fertilizer technology in relation to rice cultivation.
As many of the societies expressed a positive response to the appeal, Prof. Kyuma convened the first meeting on Aug. 15, 1990 in Kyoto, during the session of the ICSS. The meeting was attended by: Zhao Qi-guo, Gong Zi-tong (China); Chiu Tsai-Fua, Wang Yin-Po (Chinese Taiwan); J.S. Kanwar, I.P. Abrol (India); N. Nishizawa, K. Kyuma (Japan); Um Ki-Tae, Jo In-Sang (Korea); Zahari Abu Bakar (Malaysia); Somsri Arunin, Pisoot Vijarnsorn, Tasnee Attanandana, Irb Kheoruenromne, Anchalee Suddhiprakarn (Thailand).
At this meeting, Prof. Kyuma gave a brief explanation on his proposal to establish a regional body of the societies of soil science and related sciences in in South, Southeast and East Asian region, as already stated in his letter to every society. He reported that he had received 6 positive answers by communication from the societies of Chinese-Taiwan, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand. He then confirmed the positive attitude from the delegates of China and India who attended the meeting. Thus, altogether 9 regional societies, including Japan, agreed upon to formulate a regional organization.
Naming of the regional organization in relation to the regional delineation was discussed and after some discussion “East and Southeast Asia Federation of Soil Science Societies*” was unanimously adopted with an understanding that this regional delineation is justified by the emphasis placed on rice-based cropping systems as an important component of agricultural production system in the region.
General Rules of the Federation were drafted during the period of the Kyoto Congress of ICSS and distributed to the delegates of the member countries and they were officially accepted. According to the Rules, the first office was held by the Japanese Society of SSPN for a two-year term, 1990-1992, and Prof. Kyuma became the first President.
In 2009, the national societies of Bangladesh, Indonesia and Vietnam became the members. At the 13th international conference of ESAFS in 2015, the soil science societies from Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Mongolia and Nepal were approved as the new member societies of ESAFS.
* In the first issue of the Newsletter of the Federation, the President proposed an acronym of ESAFS and it was accepted favorably.