Photo by Lisa Murray, taken for IFDC.
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Power Dynamics and Scaling Potential of the Proposed Ghana Fertilizer Platform
The fertilizer sector plays a major role in crop production. The organization and structuring of the sector is vital to sustaining food systems and shrinking the level of food insecurity. To tackle challenges in the fertilizer value chain, the Government of Ghana aims to establish a Fertilizer Platform Ghana (FPG). This study was conducted to anticipate potential issues arising from power relations and dominance, which will be critical for the sustainability and effectiveness of the platform at scale. Data from 20 key stakeholders were gathered through interviews. Scaling analysis and stakeholder power analysis were done to generate insights from these data. The scaling analysis was used to determine the scaling potential of the FPG and the fertilizer value chain, while the stakeholder power analysis helped identify stakeholders' decision-making power and its basis. The findings revealed that the platform is scalable, but its efficiency and sustainability could be constrained by insecure funding, data credibility, value chain disorganization, lack of collaboration, and leadership. Scaling the fertilizer value chain through the FPG will highly depend on the platform's fit in the local context, private sector critical stakeholders' adoption rate. knowledge institutions contribution to building a science-based platform, and support from the public sector and its agencies. The pace of development of the fertilizer sector is under command of the public sector, mainly due to its high influence over data and information sources and its total control of the subsidy program, which drives the fertilizer market. The study concluded that the fertilizer value chain could be scaled through the FPG by taking the pathway of a public-private partnership, empowering less powerful actors, and creating a level playing field for all stakeholders within the platform to ensure representativeness and catalyze the development of the fertilizer sector.
Conservation Agriculture for Sustainable Intensification
Innovations such as Conservation Agriculture (CA) systems and the resulting ecological understanding of sustainable production are leading a paradigm change in the food and agriculture system globally. The resulting impact is the opening up of new and more profitable ways of managing agricultural lands and improving livelihoods, of investing in agricultural land for commercial purposes, and enhancing and being rewarded for ecosystem services. Agriculture is no longer the sector to employ the poor and the uneducated. It is a place where greater technical and managerial skills are going to be demanded in order to save the human race and the planet. Agriculture has become a calling for everyone, especially the youth, to reengage and double their efforts to achieve and sustain food security, address agricultural land degradation, achieve more from less, and respond to climate change. We must concentrate on promoting all aspects of CA for the benefit of the farmer, wherever he or she may be farming, however poor or rich, small or large, as well for the society and the planet. All disciplines and people have a role to play because the option and opportunity, which we all must seize, is at the level of a paradigm change – like moving from a flat Earth mindset to a round reaching mindset. All aspects of the food and agriculture systems must be realigned to the new paradigm over the coming decades across the world.
Nutrient Management in Conservation Agriculture
General ad hoc recommendations of fertilizer inputs do not only lead to lower nutrient-use efficiency but also result in poor soil health due to large spatial and temporal variability in soil nutrient-supplying capacity. Across the Indo-Gangetic Plains, the spatial variability in soil nutrient-supplying capacity further differs among contrasting conventional tillage (CT) and conservation agriculture (CA) systems. The success of CA is dependent on the development of component technologies such as water, weed, and nutrient management strategies to support this newly introduced form of agriculture. The nutrient management aspect under CA has remained less focused, even though it has a differential effect on crop productivity, and soil and environmental health. Like other agronomic practices (planting time, spacing, and weeding), suitable modifications to nutrient management practices are required for CA. The chances of success for CA will be limited unless the best nutrient management practices are acknowledged. Therefore, the adoption of CA can gain momentum through effective and efficient implementation of its fourth principle, i.e. nutrient management. In this chapter, the available information on nutrient transformations in soil and nutrient-use efficiency under CA, as well as opportunities for using precision nutrient management tools for efficient fertilizer nutrient usage based on scientific evidence are presented.
International Women’s Day 2022: Breaking Biases in Science and Agriculture
In commemoration of International Women's Day 2022, Q. Genga and M. Ngunjiri delivered a thought-provoking presentation that addressed the critical issue of gender biases within the fields of science and agriculture. The event served as a platform to shed light on the unique challenges and contributions of women in these sectors and the collective efforts needed to break down persistent biases
Role of Micronutrients in Improving Climatic Resilience and Future Research Areas for Improving Use Efficiency
In the context of the IFA (International Fertilizer Association) Webinar, U. Singh delivered a presentation on the pivotal role of micronutrients in enhancing climatic resilience and explored avenues for future research to optimize their use efficiency. The webinar, held on October 26, 2020, focused on the intersection of agriculture, nutrition, and environmental sustainability. The presentation by U. Singh underscored the significance of micronutrients in bolstering crops' resilience to the challenges posed by a changing climate. Micronutrients, despite being required in trace amounts, play a vital role in plant growth, nutrient uptake, and stress tolerance. Singh delved into the mechanisms by which micronutrients influence plant responses to environmental stressors, such as drought, extreme temperatures, and soil degradation.