Fertilizer Reports

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    Fertilizer Sector Improvement (FSI+) FALL ARMYWORM ACTIVITY
    (2019-01-01) Htoo Htoo Aung
    During the 2018-19 dry season, a new armyworm species, Spodoptera frugiperda (J.E. Smith) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), was detected on maize fields in Myin Chan Township (Mandalay Region); Nay Pyi Taw and Tat Kone townships (Nay Pyi Taw Region); and Nyaung-don, Zalun, and Hinthada townships (Ayeyarwady Region). At that time, the FSI+ extension team was overseeing retailer-led farmer trainings and demonstration plots for balanced nutrient management and urea deep placement (UDP) in Yangon, Bago, and Ayeyarwady regions. The extension team had already observed and reported FAW infestation on maize to the FSI+ COP, who then reported it to USAID. The PPD decided to treat FAW for the long term by applying various techniques to keep the pest population under the economic threshold level, since experts noted that FAW can never be eradicated. Farmers must learn to manage it, as in North and South America and Africa. FAW infestation need not be crippling; while an incidence may look bad, the maize plant can compensate for significant foliar damage so that yield is not affected. Farmers must learn to FSI+ | Fall Armyworm Activity 3 minimize the impact on yield. This can be done by using best management practices and balanced application of fertilizer (without overapplying nitrogen), building natural enemies of FAW, and spraying insecticide only when the infestation is over the action threshold (which can be very high). Some reports indicate that an infestation of less than 25% of plants will have no impact on yield. However, a population explosion can be disastrous. Thus, farmers must be vigilant and continually scout for FAW.
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    Restoring and Maintaining the Productivity of West African Soils: Key to Sustainable Development
    (1996-01-01) IFDC
    The Earth has become a Global Village, and West Africa is a slum in a dismal state of disrepair. More especially the all-important agricultural sector - the engine of economic growth - is going through unprecedented hard times. Locally produced cash crops, the main revenue earner for most governments, face increased competition from other producing regions where there have been substantial productivity increases and greater production efficiency. In some instances, consumer nations have found substitutes. Yields of food crops have steadily declined; at the same time, the number of mouths to feed is increasing more rapidly than at any other time in history. Market incentives for farmers are few because cheap imports of rice, wheat, and meat have become staples for the urban wage earners. Much-needed structural adjustment programs have had their downside effects on agriculture as the ensuing higher prices of external inputs such as inorganic fertilizers have discouraged farmers and caused them to avoid fertilizer use. Because of increased demographic pressure and decreasing yields, established practices for the restoration and maintenance of soil fertility as is typical of shifting cultivation have given way to exploitative continuous cropping. As farmers' yields decrease, area expansion is the only means available to them to increase the absolute amounts of food produced. Marginal lands are thus brought under cultivation. Deforestation, uncontrolled erosion, loss of biodiversity and overstocking continue to destroy an already fragile ecosystem while investments to maintain the productive capacity of the soil, i.e., its nutrient stocks, are virtually nonexistent. The net result is that more and more of the rural population is being drawn into the heart of the poverty spiral. For these people, the pains from the population, poverty, and environment nexus are all too real. The above scenario has to be viewed in the context of a region where the inherent fertility of the soils is very low. Increased cropping intensity without replacing the nutrients that the crops remove annually has resulted in the mining of this small pool of native nutrients. Meanwhile, soil degradation, both physically and chemically, has become irreversible in many ecosystems because the soil resilience is very limited. For the next 10-20 years, West African governments and the international community cannot afford a "business-as-usual" attitude. Sustainable development, however, calls for a clear assessment of the constraints to agricultural growth and the development and implementation of a number of interventions. This must be done soon and conscientiously. Time is not on the side of the West African people. The implementation of the interventions must be led by national governments, using the ingenuity of a properly sensitized farming community. Inevitably, the implementation also requires considerable institutional, scientific, and financial support from the international banking and donor community. Technologies Over the past fifty or more years, technologies to improve the productive capacity of West African soils have been generated. Unfortunately, these technologies have not been transferred to or implemented by the intended beneficiaries. The known technologies for restoring soil fertility can be grouped as follows: • Increased and more efficient use of mineral fertilizers. • Exploitation and use of locally available soil amendments such as phosphate rocks, lime, and dolomites. • Maximum recycling of organic products, both from within and from outside the farm (crop residues, animal manure, urban refuse, compost, etc.). • "Improved" land use systems, based on both indigenous and science-based technologies (rotation in addition to intercropping, agroforestry and related tree-based farming systems, increased use of species that can fix nitrogen from the atmosphere, alternatives to slash-and-burn so that fallows can be improved, etc.). • Effective methods to control wind and water erosion, tailored to indigenous knowledge and using local biological and physical resources. • The concept of "integrated nutrient management," which translates into the use of most efficient and attractive combination of previously known technologies, tailored to local farming systems and to specific agroecological niches that play a role at different system levels: regional (subhumid vs. semiarid), district (peri-urban vs. rural), watershed (rainfed uplands vs. valley bottoms), and farm (home garden vs. plots farther away). Constraints Agriculture can only be persistent and sustainable when the technologies are developed with the participation of the end users (and taking into consideration these clients' needs, means, and circumstances). As much as possible, local institutions should lead the way but with adequate support from external research and development institutions. Sustainability is also enhanced by the existence of an enabling policy environment. Constraints that impinge on one or more of the technologies previously listed are as follows: • Mineral fertilizer use is hampered by unavailability of capital and credit, by national and international disincentives, by poor marketing and pricing, and by gender bias. • Use of much cheaper soil amendments is hampered by lack of awareness and misconceptions on the returns to investment in soil fertility restoration using local resources, by low availability of identified local resources, and by lack of institutional support and extension. • Use of organic inputs is limited mainly by lack of labor and sheer relative scarcity as a result of multiple uses. • Non-adoption of "improved" land-use systems is exacerbated by limited knowledge on the need to integrate land use systems into farming systems and thus increase farmers' awareness and perception of the benefits, while specifically highlighting the role of women; by failure to recognize that tree systems and such other long-term investment packages require clear-cut land tenure arrangements. • Labor availability, perceived high investment cost, reluctance to accept a long payback period, and lack of clear-cut land tenure arrangements are the major constraints to adoption of soil conservation measures. • The constraints to integrated nutrient management are combinations of aforementioned constraints; major constraints at this time are limited awareness and perception by researchers, extension workers and (to a lesser extent) farmers, and the open questions that are still to be answered regarding the agronomic performance of integrated nutrient management practices, i.e., is the whole greater than the sum of its parts? Interventions The nature of the technology-constraint combinations has led to structuring of intervention at three levels, i.e., supranational and regional (West Africa), national and district, and village and farm. The major interventions proposed at the different operational levels are summarized below: Supranational and Regional Level • Revisiting impacts of Structural Adjustment Programs (SAP) and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in view of the need for positive incentives on fertilizer use and agricultural production. • Raising awareness and arriving at a general consensus regarding the use of phosphate rock as a capital investment to enrich the phosphorus pool in West African soils (The World Bank Initiative in this respect is to be lauded). • Developing and promoting economic valuation and discounting of externalities (productivity loss by not implementing anti-erosion policies, failure to consider the residual effect of phosphate rock, export of nutrients to other regions, impact of practices on greenhouse effect, and global climate change). • Raising awareness of the threat of gross migration and the necessity for urgent action to promote survival through, e.g., worldwide funding of a "Marshall Plan" for West Africa. • Promoting meaningful interdisciplinarity in research and development efforts through broadbased ecoregional consortia. • Fostering regional collaboration on all issues where economies of scale would prove beneficial (e.g., common procurement of fertilizers; coordinated production and distribution of phosphate rocks). • Developing and implementing agricultural market development policies, including promotion of crop diversification, improvement of domestic and export market structures, and market information. • Formulating and implementing policy directed at creating economically viable off-farm employment in rural areas (e.g., processing units for oil and karite, small-scale manufacturing). • Implementing and coordinating large-scale soil conservation investment schemes that integrate erection of structures with systems to improve soil fertility (e.g., use of phosphate rock in districts where stone lines have been erected). National and District level • Establishing, at a high political level, Natural Resource or Soil Fertility Management Units to design and implement strategies for the effective development and management of natural resources with special attention to soil fertility restoration and maintenance. • Reinforcing national agricultural research and extension systems and encouraging collaboration with all members of the farming community, including nongovernmental organizations. • Creating an "enabling environment" that promotes agricultural growth: action on credit schemes, post-harvest operations that add value to farm output, output marketing schemes including, where necessary, price guarantee schemes, clear-cut land tenure arrangements, support to institutional and physical infrastructure, fine-tuning fertilizer recommendations for specific cropsoil combinations, and other nonfinancial incentives. • Developing an inventory of natural resources available in the country for use in increasing soil fertility. • Developing policies that reward the maximum use of organic inputs for increased biomass production and that optimize the use of external inputs in the rural and peri-urban sector. Village and Farm level • Promoting a participatory approach to technology generation and validation as the only way to achieve greater adoption. • Promoting financial, technical, and moral support to women's groups. • Promoting "nutrient-saving" and "nutrient-adding" as opposed to "nutrient mining" technologies, where appropriate, while sensitizing farmers to the advantages accruing from adoption of these technologies (e.g., use of energy-saving stoves, kraaling on fields rather than in stables, N-fixing fodder species to be mixed with phosphate rocks through composting, planted stone bunds, fencing off fallows periodically}. • Promoting fertility buildup and intensified production on land that is of high potential such as land in close proximity to homestead and compost pit (relatively highly fertile) and where labor and water are available, in order to give land without such advantages a recuperative period.
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    Nutrient Delivery System in Crop Plants to Augment Acquisition, Translocation and Utilization Efficiency
    (VFRC/IFDC, 2016-01-01) Renu Pandey; Sandeep Sharma; Mandira Barman; Bindraban, Prem S.
    Efficient delivery of nutrients to plants is crucial for optimal growth and development. This publication investigates two nutrient delivery systems: through the root and via foliage. While the root system is primarily responsible for nutrient absorption, foliage can also be an efficient organ for nutrient uptake. The authors explore the possibility of enhancing nutrient absorption by modifying nutrient molecules to be charge-neutral, allowing them to pass through the plasma membrane unhindered. They highlight the negative environmental impacts of commonly used synthetic chelates and propose using artificially synthesized siderophores as a more sustainable alternative. The study investigates the potential of chelated iron foliar application and its impact on gene expression related to iron uptake. Furthermore, the authors emphasize the need for detailed investigation into the efficacy of foliar sprays with Fe-siderophore complexes and the confirmation of charge-neutral molecule passage through leaf plasma membranes. In addition, the publication addresses the challenges associated with inorganic phosphate (Pi) fixation in soil, which limits its availability to root cells. The authors propose a controlled-release technology utilizing nano-clay polymer composites to overcome this issue. By examining the interaction between clay and surface cross-linking polymers, they aim to enhance the slow-release properties of fertilizers, thus reducing P fixation and loss through runoff. Although previous studies have investigated the release behavior of P from nano-composites, crops' response to applying P-loaded nano-composites remains largely unexplored. The publication highlights the scarcity of reports evaluating crop yield response to polymer hydrogels and emphasizes the need to understand the mechanisms underlying nutrient mobilization from these polymers. The authors propose the development of a seed-coating material utilizing nutrient-loaded clay polymer composites, specifically targeting phosphorus (P) delivery to plants during the initial stages of growth. By loading the seed coating material with P, organic acid, and phosphorus-solubilizing bacteria, the researchers aim to improve root growth and seed establishment. The publication outlines the objectives of the study, which include evaluating the efficacy of Fe complexes applied as a foliar spray, identifying novel proteins involved in Fe absorption and translocation, studying the release behavior of the seed coating material loaded with phosphorus, investigating its impact on P uptake efficiency in crops, and finally, combining the most effective seed coating material with the optimal foliar formulation to enhance nutrient uptake efficiency in field conditions. This comprehensive study aims to contribute to developing advanced nutrient delivery systems to improve crop productivity while minimizing environmental impact.
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    La Distribution des Engrais en Republique du Togo
    (1990-01-01) IFDC
    L'approvisionnement en engrais qui, totalement, depend de !'importation, est en principe sous !'unique responsabilite du Service des engrais et des moyens de production (SEMP). Le SEMP a ete cree en 1976 et place sous Ia tutelle du ministere du Developpement rural. Mais entre 1984 et 1989, Ia SOTOCO a commande et distribue les engrais coton dans tout le pays, et les engrais vivriers pour les secteurs dont elle assure l'encadrement. L'analyse detaillee du systeme de distribution fait apparaitre des anomalies ou des difficultes dans les domaines suivants : L'insuffisance des moyens financiers du SEMP avec pour consequences Ia non-verification des declarations de consommation des DRDR et SRCC, des retards de passation des commandes, des reports de stocks importants d'annee en annee, des transferts d'engrais entre secteurs et un lourd passif d'impayes des DRDR vis-a-vis du SEMP. Le financement des commandes par suite de retard dans le paiement des engrais livres au detail (DRDR). Le non-controle de Ia qualite des engrais importes depuis plusieurs annees, saul ceux de Ia campagne 1989/1990. La lenteur du transport.entrainant des pertes et des avaries au port et des retards de livraison aux agriculteurs. L'insuffisance de Ia rotation des stocks dans les magasins"centraux. Le mauvais etat des magasins des secteurs (prefectures) Assoli et Doufelgou. Le non-entretien des magasins. La non-mailrise de Ia structure des prix des engrais. Les coOts et les marges de commercialisation des engrais durant Ia campagne 1989/1990 ont ete calcules par secteur (prefecture). Les prix de revient moyens ponderes pour les quatre principaux produits livres dans les magasins de zone sont les suivants : 96.961 FCFNt {331 ,93$ EU 1 ) 106.632 FCFNt {374,99 $ EU) 79.757 FCFNt {265,86 $ EU) 101.757 FCFNt {339,25 $ EU) 1 1$EU=300FCFA pour l'uree, pour le 12-22-12 +58+ 1 B, pour le 15-15-15, pour le 20-10-1 o. - 1 - Les coOts et les marges de commercialisation representent 27% du prix de revient des engrais, soit 28.053 FCFNt (93,51 $ EU). Les principaux postes de depense son! par ordre decroissant: 1) coOts de magasinage, 9.745 FCFNt (35%) 2) coOts de transport, 7.383 FCFN! (26%) 3) droits et coOts portuaires, 7.006 FCFNt (25%) 4) coOts de transferts, 1.746 FCFNt (6%). Le niveau eleva de ces coOts s'explique par le mauvais etat des pistes en saison des pluies et Ia mauvaise estimation des besoins en engrais. Des economies son! possibles et son! estimees en moyenne a 10.771 FCFNt, soil 38% des coOts de distribution actuels. L'engrais coton est vendu a credit par Ia SOTOCO a 100.000 FCFA Ia tonne (330 $ EU), exclusivement aux groupements. Tousles autres types d'engrais sont vendus au comptant a 65.000 FCFA Ia tonne (60.000 FCFA pour les achats en gros). Les agriculteurs rencontrent de plus en plus de difficultes a acheter les engrais au comptant en periode de semis (avril/mai au sud, juillet/aoOt au nord). Cette situation a amene Ia SOTOCO a mettre au point un systeme de "bon a livrer" dans sa zone d'intervention : elle vend les engrais en periode de recolte Ouillet/aoOt) et les livre Ia campagne suivante, au moment des semis. L'engrais vivrier est subventionne a 23 %, landis que l'engrais coton, ne I' est qu'a 5% . Recommendations Controler systematiquement Ia qualite des engrais importes. • Fournir des moyens (techniques et financiers) au Service des engrais afin qu'il puisse suivre rigoureusement les stocks et lancer assez tot les commandes. • Controler les declarations des DRDR concernant les engrais classes par elles com me uavarh~S11 • Exiger des DRDR le remboursement au SEMP des achats anterieurs prealablement a toute autre livraison. • Ameliorer l'etat des pistes rurales avant Ia distribution des engrais. • Construire des magasins dans les.secteurs de Bafilo et de Niamtougou. • Rentabiliser les magasins centraux de Ia DRDR de Ia Region des Plateaux et ceux de Ia Region Centrale en les mettant en location. • lnclure un budget d'entretien des magasins dans le budget de fonctionnement des DRDR et de Ia SOTOCO. • Former des encadreurs, des charges d'intrants et les chefs des divisions des Moyens de Production et de Commercialisation a Ia planification des besoins en engrais et aux operations de comptabilite. • Etendre dans tout le pays le systeme qui consiste a vendm au comptant les engrais vivriers au moment de Ia recolte, eta les livrer en saison pluvieuse. • Stimuler Ia formation des groupements d'agriculteurs. • Accorder des facilitBs de credit aux groupements capables de fonctionner comme de veritables distributeurs locaux, achetant leurs intrants au prix de gros et les revendant au prix de detail. • Vendre au prix coOlant les engrais aux societas privees n'assurant pas l'encadrement des paysans.
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    Development and Dissemination of Sustainable Integrated Soil Fertility Management Practices for Smallholder Farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa
    (2005-01-01) IFDC
    The Development and Dissemination of Sustainable and Integrated Soil Fertility Management (ISFM) Practices for Smallholder Farms in Sub-Saharan Africa were implemented by IFDC and TSBF of the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and partners at key sites in seven West African countries. The key sites in West Africa were Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Togo, and Ghana, and Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe were key sites in Southern Africa. The ISFM Framework Project started in May 2001 and ended in December 2004. At all sites, activities were based on annual action plans developed with partners during annual workshops. Action plans typically included training, research, public awareness, and up/out scaling activities. Partners included seven IFAD investment programs, thirteen national research institutes and universities, fifteen non-governmental organizations (NGOs), five financial institutions, and ten national extension agencies. Two networks were active in coordinating the research and extension efforts—the Agricultural Intensification in Sub-Saharan Africa (AISSA) network established with financial backing from this project and convened by IFDC and the African Network for Soil Biology and Fertility (AfNet) convened by TSBF-CIAT. Although biased toward the latter, the project’s logical framework encompassed the entire research-to-development continuum from process research to adaptive research and dissemination. At the process level, the project generated an improved understanding of interactions between organic inputs and mineral fertilizers and their impact on soil organic matter buildup and nutrient supply. More insight was also gained into farmers’ priorities regarding soil fertility management and social and gender differences among farmers regarding access and management of soil resources. The key challenge at the action research level was combining local knowledge of socio-economic and biophysical determinants of yield and soil quality with scientific knowledge of agroecological principles to develop practical and feasible technologies to boost farm production and maintain or improve soil fertility. Many technological options (two to three options per site) were evaluated in three main farming systems, i.e., the agro-pastoral millet/sorghum system, the maize-mixed system, and the irrigated rice-based system. In low-input systems, most evaluated technologies were based on combining organic inputs and judicious use of mineral fertilizers. Organic inputs included household waste, cattle manure, and straw. Other technological options tested with farmers focused on introducing N-fixing legumes in farming systems, such as mucuna, soybean, and cowpea. Fertilizer-N recovery rates were doubled in most cases (from a low 0.10–0.15 kg kg1 to 0.4 kg kg1 for sorghum). Yields were increased from 0.4 to 0.7 t ha1 to 2 to 2.7 for sorghum and from 0.8 t ha1 to 3 to 4 t ha1 for maize. In the Sahel and Sudano-savanna zone, water conservation technologies were combined with improved soil fertility management (including precision placement of microdoses of mineral fertilizer) to achieve higher and more sustainable yields. In high-input rice-based systems, the focus was on site specific nutrient management and improved crop management in general. Compared with existing recommendations, yield gains of 0.15 to 0.55 t ha1 were obtained with site-specific approaches at equal costs leading to increased gross returns above fertilizer costs by an average of U.S. $140 per season compared with both farmers’ practice and existing recommendations. The research results were used to develop and fine-tune several decision support tools that can be used to conduct ex-ante impact analyses of promising technologies. The National Agricultural Research and Extension Systems (NARES) and NGO staff involved in the project were trained in participatory learning and action-research approaches emphasizing agroecological principles rather than technology prescriptions. Attention was also paid to the development of institutional arrangements to facilitate the adoption of the technological options, such as improved access to mineral fertilizer and credit, through collaboration with two other IFDC projects funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the International Fertilizer Industry Association (IFA). These efforts culminated in the development the Competitive Agricultural Systems and Enterprises (CASE) approach. CASE combines participatory development of improved natural resource management technologies with coordinated efforts to experiment and extend alternative institutional arrangements that link farmers with input dealers, micro-finance, and traders. CASE also strengthens the innovative capacities of the various stakeholders involved. The CASE approach was evaluated with partners within the AISSA network. As a result of the project, 40 scientific papers were published or submitted to journals; four PhD theses and numerous M.S. theses were also written. Seven technical advisory notes (TANs) were derived from the research data. The project summarized the agroecological principles of ISFM in a manual; it also contributed to a facilitators’ manual, a technical manual for inland valley rice systems, and an ISFM manual published by an NGO (VeCO). The project actively worked with partners within IFAD-funded investment programs: • The former rural development project in southern Togo (PODV). • The South-West Development Project. • The special program for soil and water conservation and agro-forestry in Burkina Faso. • The Smallholder Floodplains Development Program, Malawi. • The Southern Province Household Food Security Program in Zambia. • The South-East Dry Areas Project. • The Smallholder Dry Areas Resource Management Project in Zimbabwe. • The Umutara Community Resources and Infrastructure Development Project (UCRIDP) in Rwanda. The project provided technical backstopping and training and stimulated participatory research on technological options and institutional arrangement to accelerate agricultural intensification using the CASE approach. Project staff also participated in formulation missions for the Programme d’Investissement Communautaire en Fertilité Agricole (PICOFA) and Projet de Développement Rural Durable du Burkina Faso (PDRDB) investment programs in Burkina Faso. Contacts were also established with IFAD investment programs in Ghana, Nigeria, Benin, and Mozambique. Two international training courses (one in English, one in French) were organized on the technological and institutional aspects of ISFM for partners from NARES, NGOs, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and investment program staff. The English training material is currently used for a distance learning course via the Internet by the Sustainable Development of Learning Network in Bangkok. Several training courses tailored to the specific needs and demands of partners at key sites were also provided. Many exchange visits and workshops were organized to enhance knowledge dissemination between countries and regions. The main lessons from the project are that translating research results into farm practice is not just about technologies but, more especially, about people and reinforcing their decision-making and capacity to analyze trade-offs and options and access information, services, and markets. This calls for a new approach to doing business in agricultural research and development. This new paradigm emphasizes interdisciplinary teamwork, inter-institutional partnerships, stakeholder involvement, participatory approaches, and systems thinking.