Feed the Future Soil Fertility Technology (SFT) Adoption, Policy Reform and Knowledge Management Project (Semi-Annual Performance Report October 1, 2018- March 31, 2019)

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The International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) enables smallholder farmers in developing countries to increase agricultural productivity, generate economic growth, and practice environmental stewardship by enhancing their ability to manage mineral and organic fertilizers responsibly and participate profitably in input and output markets. On March 1, 2015, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and IFDC entered into a new cooperative agreement designed to more directly support the Bureau for Food Security’s (BFS) objectives, particularly in relation to Feed the Future (FTF). Under the awarded agreement and in collaboration with USAID, IFDC conducted a range of activities and interventions prioritized from each annual work plan for the agreed-upon workstreams. During the current reporting period, activities reflect greater integration between field-based work in FTF countries and scientific support and expertise from IFDC headquarters. Some of the activities reported here are a continuation of work initiated in FY2018. A summary description of the major activities is presented below. Workstream 1: Developing and Validating Technologies, Approaches, and Practices Under Workstream 1, IFDC is developing and validating technologies, approaches, and practices that address nutrient management issues and advance sustainable agricultural intensification. The following activities were conducted during the reporting period: Technologies evaluated, refined, and adapted for improving nitrogen use efficiency within the context of best management practice. This included: Development and evaluation of enhanced efficiency N fertilizers and delivery of secondary and micronutrients. Overcoming fertilizer deep placement (FDP) constraints for technology dissemination. Trials in stress-prone areas of Ghana, Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Nepal toward promoting climate resilience and mitigating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Activated phosphate rock (PR) to improve use efficiency and accessibility of phosphatic fertilizers to farmers in SSA. The following sub-activities are in progress: Completion and analysis of ongoing greenhouse trials and field trials in Ghana and Kenya. Activated PR demonstrations on soils with varying pH in partnership with PR producers. Balanced crop nutrition research to improve fertilizer recommendations that increase crop yields, protect soil health, and improve farmer profitability. This included: Efficient incorporation of micronutrients into NPK fertilizers and evaluation of multi- nutrient fertilizers through laboratory, greenhouse, and field trials. Facilitation of site- and crop-specific fertilizer recommendations through nutrient omission trials in Ghana and Senegal, maize nutrient deficiency mapping and development of balanced fertilizer for rice production in Mozambique, and expanding spectral analysis techniques to fertilizer analysis. Research toward developing climate-smart cropping systems through integrated soil fertility management (ISFM) and conservation agriculture (CA). This included Initiation of research on nutrient recycling using black soldier fly larvae. Assessment of changes in soil organic carbon and nitrogen stocks under conservation agriculture production systems in Cambodia. Evaluation of the role of legumes in rice-based farming systems in Mozambique. Evaluation of CA practices in combination with the use of activated phosphate rock in northern Ghana. Efforts to improve the existing soil dynamics model in the Decision Support System for Agrotechnology Transfer (DSSAT) Cropping System Model using soil and agronomic data generated by IFDC over past years (crosscutting activity). Workstream 2: Supporting Policy Reforms and Market Development Under Workstream 2, evidence-based policy analyses were conducted to support reform processes and other initiatives that are focused on accelerating agricultural growth through the use of improved technologies, particularly fertilizers and complementary inputs. This analytical approach enables IFDC to support the development of fertilizer markets and value chains that allow greater private sector participation and investment with appropriate public sector regulatory oversight. The following is a summary of activities during the reporting period: Documentation and support for the development and implementation of fertilizer- and soil- related policies and legal/regulatory reforms. Activities included: Organization of the Kenya Fertilizer Roundtable meeting. Contribution to USAID BFS Agriculture Core Course on agricultural input policies. Contribution to a joint World Fertilizer Trends and Outlook (WFTO) report issued by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Participation as a consortium member of the Partnership for Enabling Market Environments for Fertilizer in Africa (PEMEFA). Technical briefs on fertilizer markets and policy reforms in Bangladesh and Ghana. Impact assessment studies on soil and fertilization technologies, policies, and government programs aimed at improving farmers’ access to and use of fertilizer. The following activities were conducted: An impact assessment study on the Kenya fertilizer subsidy program. Initial activities toward an impact assessment study on agro-dealer development programs in Rwanda. Economic studies to inform public and private decision-making and identify policy areas for interventions to streamline the flow of fertilizers at reduced prices for smallholder farmers. Activities included: Documentation of fertilizer quality assessments conducted in Benin, Burkina Faso, and Liberia to inform fertilizer quality policy development. Journal manuscript submitted on the achievements and lessons learned from fertilizer quality assessments across sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and in Myanmar. Discussion paper on changes in the cost of supplying fertilizer in West Africa. Initiation of a draft report on The African Fertilizer Access Index for Kenya (TAFAI-Ke). Graduate research study on life cycle analysis of greenhouse gas emissions under a rice- paddy system in Bangladesh. Empirical and economic analysis of fertilization methods for rice paddy in Bangladesh. Ongoing enhancement of monitoring and evaluation (M&E) capacities of IFDC soil fertility research projects. Initiation of a research paper documenting the benefits of expanding fertilizer deep placement among women farmers in Bangladesh. Additional steps toward collaborative activities to improve fertilizer use, access, and market development in Honduras and Guatemala. Initiation of research on factors that constrain fertilizer supply and demand in West Africa. Workstream 3 – Sustainable Opportunities to Improve Livelihoods with Soils (SOILS) Consortium Workstream 3 covers activities implemented under the recently launched SOILS Consortium, a collaboration among IFDC, Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Sustainable Intensification (SIIL) at Kansas State University, and USAID. The primary goal of the SOILS Consortium is to improve soil fertility in the most vulnerable regions of sub-Saharan Africa. The following activities were accomplished during the reporting period: Establishment of SOILS organizational structure and planning. Core Partner meetings. Launch of SOILS Consortium. Development of Core Partner concept note. Cross-Cutting Issues Including University Partnerships and Knowledge Management Under the awarded agreement, IFDC conducted a range of activities and interventions prioritized by the 2019 annual work plan, including greater partnerships with U.S. universities. A summary of the various associated outreach activities and the methods of disseminating research outcomes and findings are reported .
Fertilizer, Soil fertility