Fertilizer Reports

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    Plant Exudates for Nutrient Uptake
    (2015-03) D.H. Keuskamp; Richard Kimber; Bindraban, Prem S.; Christian O. Dimkpa; W.D.C. Schenkeveld
    Plants require nutrients for unimpaired growth. Many plant strategies for acquiring nutrients from the soil involve root exudates that facilitate the detachment from the soil solid phase and the transport to the plant root. In this report, root exudation related to acquisition of nutrients other than nitrogen (N) and phosphate (P) has been considered. In this context, three important classes of root exudates can be identified: low molecular weight organic acids (LMWOA), phytosiderophores (PS) and reductants. The mechanisms by which these exudates can enhance bioavailability include ligand exchange, ligand-promoted dissolution, mineral dissolution by lowering solution saturation state through complexation, co-exudation of protons and chemical reduction. These mechanisms are not specific to a certain class of exudates, and a single class of exudates can be involved in multiple mechanisms. The efficiency of exudates in mobilizing nutrients from soil depends on the chemical affinity of the exudate ligand for the targeted nutrient element (the denticity of the exudate ligand plays an important role in this respect), the characteristics of the soil, and the susceptibility of the exudate to microbial degradation, adsorption and binding of non-targeted elements. A meta-analysis of available literature data on the response of root exudation levels by different crop species to the availability of specific nutrients was carried out. The relative change in root exudation level as a result of a decrease in the availability of specific nutrients was investigated. The responsiveness and the magnitude of these responses seem to be strongly plant species, cultivar and nutrient specific. Available data on exudation proved biased towards certain nutrients, specifically iron (Fe) and zinc (Zn), and comparisons between studies were often complicated due to differences in experimental approach. Furthermore, at present there are very few published data on exudation under actual rhizosphere conditions. Despite the shortage of data, the potential for utilizing root exudates for making better use of soil nutrient reserves and improving nutrient acquisition, e.g., in intercropping systems, looks promising and needs to be further explored.
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    Fertilizer Sector Improvement (FSI+) : FALL ARMYWORM ACTIVITY
    (2019-11) Htoo Htoo Aung
    The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) requested that the Fertilizer Sector Improvement (FSI+) project provide extension services in the FSI+ regions affected by fall armyworm (FAW). USAID and the chief of party (COP) of the FSI+ project agreed to implement the FAW activity as an extension of the project, which originally concluded in August 2019. The extension team began preparing a training manual, poster, and pamphlets on May 14, 2019, based on a training manual of the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) in Bangladesh. The team then liaised with the Plant Protection Division (PPD) of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation (MOALI) to ensure consistent delivery of technical information. FAW retailer trainings were conducted in Pindaya, Aung Ban, Nyaung Shwe, and Taunggyi townships of southern Shan State at the end of May 2019. Twelve demonstration field schools were selected in six townships with active input retailers who were willing to lead. In June 2019, establishment of the demonstration field schools began, and by August 2019, one-time farmer trainings and five scoutings were performed. Sample plot harvesting of the demonstration field schools and random farmers’ crop cuts were completed during October 2019. The second edition of a training manual was produced during September 2019, and retailer training began in the Delta Region at Maubin, Zalun, and Letpadan townships. During October 2019, six demonstration field schools were established and scouting continued in five townships. Scouting was handed over to lead retailers and the Department of Agriculture (DOA) of each township and continued until the conclusion of the FSI+ extension activity at the end of November 2019.
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    Long-Range Perspectives on Inorganic Fertilizer in Global Agriculture
    (1999-11-01) Smil, Vaclav
    This document comprehensively analyses the global dependence on inorganic fertilizers, focusing on nitrogen and phosphorus, the two macronutrients that commonly limit crop production. It traces the origins of this dependency back to the 19th century when pioneers in chemistry and agronomy laid the foundations for modern crop production science. The document highlights critical historical events, such as the discovery of Chilean nitrate shipments and the extraction of phosphates in various regions, that promoted the use of inorganic fertilizers. Despite these developments, organic fertilizers remained dominant until the beginning of the 20th century. A breakthrough occurred in 1909 with Fritz Haber's demonstration of ammonia synthesis led to the rapid commercialization of synthetic ammonia production. World War I further accelerated ammonia synthesis as it became crucial for producing nitrates used in explosives. The document emphasizes the significant role of ammonia synthesis, particularly the Haber-Bosch process, in the Green Revolution and the subsequent increase in global food production. The analysis reveals the staggering growth in global fertilizer use over time, with nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium applications increasing several-fold since 1950. The document highlights the critical role of inorganic fertilizers in meeting the growing demand for food due to population growth and changing dietary patterns. It emphasizes the essential contribution of nitrogen fertilizers to global protein supply, particularly in low-income countries where over 50% of dietary protein is derived from inorganic fertilizers. The document discusses the challenges of providing sufficient food for a global population that is expected to reach between 7.3 and 10.7 billion by 2050. While population growth is projected to decline, the increasing population in low-income countries poses a significant challenge to food production. The need for further intensification of farming, particularly in Asia and Africa, will drive a continued reliance on inorganic fertilizers to meet nutritional demands.
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    La Distribution des Engrais en Republique du Togo
    (1990-10) Kossi P. Dahoui
    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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    Restoring and Maintaining the Productivity of West African Soils: Key to Sustainable Development
    (1996-02) 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. The Way Forward: The Role of the International Fertilizer Development Center-Africa Since its inception in 1987, the Togo-based Africa Division of the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC-Africa} has gained most valuable knowledge on soil fertility and fertilizer use within West Africa. IFDC-Africa has established two networks on fertilizer trade and X marketing (African Fertilizer Trade, Marketing and Information Network, AFTMIN) and on soil fertility management (West African Fertilizer Management and Evaluation Network, WAFMEN) to anchor its two programs- Policy Reform, Market Research and Development Program and Watershed Management Program. IFDC-Africa has conducted detailed fertilizer sector studies in Benin, Togo, Burkina Faso, Niger, Ghana, and Mali. These studies address issues related to fertilizer demand, procurement, and domestic marketing. Complementary studies have also been conducted in Ghana and Mali on such policy issues as food security and fertilizer use, agroeconomic potential of fertilizer use, and pricing and macro-economic policy environments. These detailed studies conclude with recommendations for all players in the national fertilizer sector. Program scientists conduct follow-up activities to help ensure that policymakers act upon these recommendations. In 1994 the Federal Government of Nigeria commissioned IFDC to design a program for the liberalization of the fertilizer sector. Recently, IFDC-Africa completed a study on Ghana titled "Ghana Fertilizer Privatization Scheme: Private Sector Roles and Public Sector Responsibilities in Meeting Needs of Farmers." In November 1994 IFDC-Africa organized a seminar on the use of locally occurring phosphate rocks for soil fertility improvement in West Africa; the proceedings of this seminar have been published. This accumulated knowledge is valuable and is beginning to have an impact on the "character" of agriculture in the respective countries. It is also apparent that an action-oriented approach by governments to tackle the problems of degraded soils, deforestation leading to loss of biodiversity and desertification, and stagnant or declining yields has proved elusive. IFDC-Africa is firmly convinced that the restoration of soil fertility is key to West Africa's resurrection and is prepared to cooperate with West African governments to design and implement programs that would remove the aforementioned constraints and pave the way to sustainable development.