IFDC Report, Volume 3, No. 1

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This material provides an overview of a collaborative research project between the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) on using phosphate fertilizers in Latin American soils. The project, financed by the International Development Research Centre of Canada, aims to expand previous research efforts to understand the dissolution and residual availability of phosphorus (P) from various phosphate sources on acid soils in Latin America. The research evaluates the effect of P placement, granule size, the addition of acid-forming materials to phosphate rock, and soil variations on phosphorus availability in crops such as cassava, beans, rice, grass, and leguminous forages. The project involves research activities in Colombia and collaboration with national institutes in other Latin American countries. Furthermore, the report highlights the IFDC's fertilizer marketing and distribution course scheduled to provide training on integrated marketing concepts, transportation, and distribution systems in Mexico. The course aims to enhance the knowledge and skills of managers and planners responsible for fertilizer distribution. The publication also mentions IFDC's involvement in evaluating the marketing potential of products from a fertilizer facility in Mexico, focusing on phosphoric acid production and its domestic market prospects. In addition, the report discusses IFDC's research efforts to improve the effectiveness of phosphate fertilizers in tropical soils. Soil scientists are conducting laboratory and greenhouse studies to understand the agronomic effectiveness of different fertilizer materials and develop enhanced phosphate fertilizers for phosphorus-deficient soils in the tropics. The paper further highlights IFDC's pilot-plant research unit, which is crucial in improving process operations, producing materials for testing, and providing training under safe operating conditions. Specifically, it discusses the successful operation of a pilot plant for granulating phosphate rock. It explores the potential of using acids as binders to enhance agronomic suitability and reduce production costs. Moreover, the report introduces the framework for analyzing the economics of phosphate rock for direct application, emphasizing the importance of lower-cost forms of phosphorus for tropical soils. It mentions the economic evaluation of finely divided phosphate rock (PR) and its advantages over highly manufactured Triple Superphosphate (TSP) in certain situations. Lastly, the report briefly mentions IFDC's wet-process phosphoric acid research program, which aims to evaluate various phosphate ores and develop economically viable small-scale phosphoric acid production methods. The program also explores ways to recover phosphorus from byproduct waste materials, contributing to environmental sustainability and resource efficiency.
Tropical Soils, Phosphate fertilizers