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Efficient Fertilizer Use and its Role in Increasing Food Production and Protecting the Environment
L. M. MAENE INTERNATIONAL FERTILIZER INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION, PARIS
Contents 1. Food supply and demand 2. The fertilizer life-cycle 3. Fertilizer use and the environment 4. Efficient fertilization 5. Balanced fertilization 6. The FAO Fertilizer Programme 7. Nutrient accounting 8. Integrated agricultural management 9. Research and extension 10. References 1. Food Supply and Demand In his paper entitled "Selected Aspects of the Future Global Food Situation", presented at the IFA Council meeting held in Rome from 30 November to 3 December 1999, Per PinstrupAndersen, Director-General of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) stated: There is likely to be a gap between food production and demand in several parts of the world by 2020. Demand is influenced by population growth and urbanization, as well as income levels and associated changes in dietary preferences. According to United Nations projections, world population will reach 7.5 billion in 2020, an increase of 25 percent over the mid-1999 population of 6 billion. This means that, on average, 73 million people, equivalent to the current population of the Philippines, will be added each year. Over 97 percent of the projected growth will take place in developing countries.
The urban proportion of the population will reach 52 percent. However. with 80 percent of the additional grain coming from yield increases rather than farmland expansion. Some poor countries are unlikely to be able to make up the difference through commercial imports. milk. but income inequality is likely to persist within and between countries. 2 . where per capita income will be less than a dollar a day. sorghum. and maize to rice and wheat. in IFDC's 1999 Travis P. and processed foods. To meet the demand increases. By 2020.Much of the population increase will take place in the cities of the developing world. it will not be adequate to fill in the gap. Additional. Without chemically fixed nitrogen. fruits. per capita demand for cereals and meat will continue to lag far behind that in developed countries. which require less preparation time. even if it is available in the marketplace. Strong meat demand will double developing countries’ feed-grain demand. This is due partly to reduced use of inputs like fertilizer. but it is widening considerably within the developing world. tubers. and partly to low levels of investment in agricultural research and technology. But cereal production will not keep pace with demand. they generally shift from diets based on roots. globally. The gap in average cereal yields between developed and developing countries is slowly narrowing. Already at the beginning of the twentieth century there was considerable concern on the part of scientists that nitrogen available from natural resources was proving inadequate. Poverty is likely to remain entrenched in South Asia and Latin America. millet. where the urban population is expected to double by 2020. 40 percent of the protein in the human diet is derived from nitrogen fixed by the Haber-Bosch process. However. and although the global food aid tonnage is projected to rise over the short-term. reflecting low and falling cereal prices. agriculture could not support today's population even at the expense of environmental degradation. IFPRI projects increases in per capita income in all developing regions through 2020. developing countries will produce 59 percent of all cereals and 61 percent of all meat. vegetables. The problem will be to make the system sustainable. Poorly functioning markets and lack of appropriate infrastructure and credit also contribute. When people move to cities. Vaclav Smil from the University of Manitoba estimated that. the rate of increase in cereal yields is slowing from 1970s levels. Many millions of low-income people may not be able to afford the food they need. Almost all of these increases will come from the developing world. particularly East Asia. Hignett lecture. and to increase considerably in Sub-Saharan Africa. It is difficult to know the exact contribution because of interactions with other factors. A substantial proportion of world food supplies depends on the use of mineral fertilizers. However. IFPRI forecasts a 39 percent increase in cereal demand between 1995 and 2020. and a 58 percent increase in meat demand. farmers will have to produce 40 percent more grain in 2020. and to more meat. as Sub-Saharan Africa lags further and further behind other regions. And the nitrogen must evidently be accompanied by the other plant nutrients. in both developed and developing countries. large quantities of mineral fertilizers will continue to be required to satisfy the cereal requirements predicted by IFPRI.
Küsters (1999) reported on work on the fertilizer life-cycle in the north of Germany. To complete the series. including one which 3 . The Fertilizer Life-Cycle Energy Energy Energy CO2 Energy Raw materials Production Distribution Use in agriculture CO2 (N2O) CO2 N2 O NH3 Energy Environmental impacts N air N water N soil N health and safety N energy N resource depletion Solutions J environmental management systems J technical J regulations and policy J knowledge IFA and UNEP have published joint documents on "Fertilizer production and the environment". J. Field experiments were carried out on winter wheat between 1989 and 1997. Nitrogen rates varied from 0 to 220 kg N/ha. The Fertilizer Life-Cycle The fertilizer life-cycle may be represented by the following diagram. and "Fertilizer use and the environment". "Fertilizer distribution and the environment" (in press). a publication on the mining of fertilizer raw materials and the environment is planned. Different fertilizers and systems were compared.2.
But in addition. Isherwood. As regards energy. from mine to farm. In most developing countries the relative agricultural impact would be even greater. but also. therefore. Otherwise. and soils. Of these two. the energy output is several-fold greater than the energy input. However. It was found that the impacts of fertilizer distribution. not only does a substantial proportion of the world's population depend for its existence on nitrogen fixed by the Haber-Bosch process. depending on the system. The major environmental impact from fertilizer production is the unavoidable emission of CO2. Some considered that they are unnecessary and could be replaced by other production processes. modern technology and an efficient "Environmental Management System" (EMS) can reduce other emissions from fertilizer production to negligible levels.included cattle slurry (the most polluting). 4 . the general public's image of fertilizers sank to a very low level. the inefficiency represents a needless. around the beginning of the 1990s. but also of under-use. It is. The challenge is to retain the benefits of fertilizers while minimizing adverse consequences. transport. which leads to soil degradation. normally 170 kg N /ha for wheat in northern Germany. large economic loss. "Eco-Indicators". few questioned the benefits and importance of mineral fertilizers. Hence. However. water. Fertilizer Use and the Environment Up to the early 1980s. lakes and the sea and even poisoning people. accounting for between 73 percent and 93 percent of the total impact. through the photosynthesis of plants. protective role due to their activity against certain harmful pathogens. packaging and application were very small compared with those resulting from fertilizer production and fertilizer use in agriculture. resulting from ammonia manufacture without the down-stream facilities to make use of it. in the application of its products in agriculture that the fertilizer industry is most vulnerable from an environmental point of view. Fertilizers were accused of polluting the air. the researchers compared the total energy input in the system with the total energy output from the crops. the impact of fertilizer use in agriculture was the more important. The energy yield per unit of N was greatest at lower rates of N application but at any rate up to the economic optimum. a good EMS can reduce costs (K. which leads to nutrient and economic losses. were calculated with appropriate weightings for the various impacts on the environment. Furthermore. the basic importance of drinking water to human existence has led to a precautionary approach in the establishment of a limit for drinking water of 50 mg NO3 per litre. The role of nitrates in human health is still the subject of active debate. Where fertilizers are not used correctly some of the criticism is justified. Plant nutrients which have been applied and which remain unused by the plant remain in the environment and can have an adverse impact on the air. drinking water. 3. 1999). This is not only a question of over-use and incorrect use. the extra energy yield due to N fertilization was at least 5 times higher than the energy input through N fertilizer application. It was generally accepted that they were necessary in order to feed the increasing world population and the general improvement in diets. with some scientists claiming that they may have a positive.
surface runoff (including soil erosion) from cropland. nitrous oxide being one of the three most important "greenhouse gases".Elevated levels of nitrates are also significant contributors to eutrophication. Phosphate in the soil is rather immobile and the loss of water-soluble phosphate through leaching is low. The main loss to the atmosphere from rice paddies is methane. the increased vegetative growth resulting from the use of fertilizers sequesters carbon dioxide. One estimate is that for every kg of nitrogen applied as fertilizers. another greenhouse gas. i. the direct impact of nitrogen fertilizers on overall methane emissions is probably rather small. resulting in soil acidification and affecting biodiversity. Several authors predict the need for a substantial increase in fertilizer nitrogen application for the production of the additional quantities of cereals anticipated by IFPRI. Phosphate enrichment of lake and river water may lead to eutrophication. up to 40 percent or more. The expanding use of no-till and reduced-till cultivation practices increases the surface application of urea. It is estimated that N2O contributes between 5 and 7 percent of the calculated greenhouse effect caused by human activity. the excessive growth of algae and other undesirable aquatic plant species. With the increasing implementation of the Kyoto protocol and concern about climate change. Phosphates also can cause eutrophication. experiments demonstrate that nitrogen losses to the atmosphere in the form of ammonia following the application of urea can amount to 20 percent or more. as well as areas of the Mediterranean. On the positive side. the gaseous emissions will be the critical issue. Rice paddies contribute 28 percent of the world's methane emissions. particularly in marine and coastal areas. such as bananas. under tropical conditions. under temperate conditions. Losses are even higher. pasture and forest. However. Methane is produced during the microbial decomposition of organic materials in the absence of oxygen. The challenge will be to provide the additional nitrogen without adverse environmental impacts. Management strategies that increase the efficiency of N uptake by crops probably reduce the emission of N2O to the atmosphere. it is likely that. Losses occur when the urea is not incorporated into the soil immediately after spreading and they are particularly high on calcareous soils. In the USA. can contribute to phosphate loading of surface waters.e. In recent years. large areas of the North Sea coastlines have suffered from such eutrophication. in future. nitrates are suspected of causing "hypoxia" in the Gulf of Mexico. Urban and industrial wastes usually account for most of the phosphate loading. it is the emissions of nutrients into water which has attracted most attention. 5 . sugar cane. Although most emissions of ammonia are from manure or natural sources. on flooded rice and on crops which do not involve tilling of the soil. In Europe. However. 10 to 12 kg of carbon dioxide can be sequestered. oil palm and rubber. Nitrogenous fertilizers are suspected of increasing emissions of nitrous oxide from agriculture. Best management practices are highly effective in eliminating this possibility. Agriculture is an important source of ammonia emissions to the atmosphere.
In work in China (A. On a late rice crop.4. Between 1960 and 1998. ever since 1960. with very high N losses to the environment. in 25 on-farm experiments. Uneven fertilization means over-fertilization (pollution) of some areas. especially nitrogen. Awasthi (1999) wrote: The low efficiency of fertilizer use in India is a matter of concern.38:0. Balanced Fertilization If fertilization is to be efficient it must be balanced. In view of the large quantities involved.S. a seven-fold increase in 38 years. Phosphatic fertilizers are the costliest on a Rs/kg of nutrient basis but their use efficiency is only 20-25 percent. 1998). The author estimates that only 60 percent of the potential yield is achieved in intensive rice-growing areas of Asia.6 billion. Careful attention must be paid to all aspects of product quality to maximize the efficiency of fertilization. amounts to US$ 10. Finck (1992) considered that the proportions of fertilizer nutrients taken up by the crop during the season of application are as follows: • Nitrogen: 50-70 percent • Phosphate: about 15 percent • Potash: 50-60 percent U. Dobermann. with improved agricultural practices a recovery of 69 percent was obtained by farmers.73 in 1960 to 1:0.95:0. In the case of farmers' practice 5 kg grain per kg of N applied was obtained compared with 24kg in the experimental station. Excess nutrients. a 20 percent loss with a wholesale price of US$ 0. the average recovery efficiency of applied N was 40 percent in farmers' practice. but with a yield of only 11 kg grain per kg N applied. correct fertilization must be accompanied by other proper agricultural practices. In trials on rice in Vietnam. not taken up by the crop. Efficient Fertilization Efficient fertilization is synonymous with the minimization of nutrient losses to the environment. P2O5 and K2O changed from 1:0. For example. A. recovery averaged 5 percent (range 0 to 12 percent). the average plant recovery of N by an early rice crop averaged 29 percent (range 10 to 65 percent). without sacrificing crop yields. are likely to be lost to the environment. The ratio between N. At another site. compared with 41 percent in a experimental station trial. under-fertilization (loss of yield/quality) of others.66 per kg of N in urea. 5.27 in 1998. and 30kg grain per kg N. the world use of nitrogen has increased from 12 to 81 million tonnes N. inefficiencies in fertilizer use represent not only an environmental hazard but also a substantial economic loss. World nitrogen consumption has increased much faster than that of phosphate and potash. not to speak of the other nutrients. Nitrogen use efficiency in rice is only 30-35 percent with an overall efficiency level of 50 percent. despite a substantial fall in the countries of Central Europe and the Former Soviet Union since 1990. given that about 80 Mt of N were used in world agriculture 1998. Evidently. The efficiency of potash use is around 80 percent. 6 .
The effects of nitrogen application to a crop are normally rapid and evident. were developed and in countries with a climate favourable to intensive pasture production. whether a major nutrient or a micronutrient. At times of economic stress.The increase in the consumption of nitrogen in relation to the other nutrients is due to several factors. crop growth is affected. Much larger manufacturing plants gave economies of scale. 3. Potash is of vital importance for cells and their enzymatic and metabolic functions. The effects of phosphate and potash are not as visible as those of nitrogen but they are nevertheless equally essential for a healthy plant development. enzymes. New varieties of cereals. or at comparatively low levels in less favourable circumstances. very responsive to nitrogen. etc. In either case. if any plant nutrient. for example. Increased consumption in large developing countries often coincided with increased supply from new nitrogen fertilizer plants. his logical preference for nitrogen. Increased yields deplete the soils of the other plant nutrients removed by the harvested crops. Phosphorus. is a constituent of proteins. the nitrogen fertilization of pasture increased considerably. The price of nitrogen relative to phosphate fell after the developments in nitrogen fertilizer production in the 1960's. it has been shown that while the application of an adequate quantity of N increased the yield of rice paddy 2. At IRRI.6 times more S from the soil. Field experiments carried out by IMPHOS in Pakistan have demonstrated that phosphate application substantially improves the efficiency of nitrogen use. balanced fertilization is necessary for use efficiency. and the challenge is to demonstrate that the efficiency of nitrogen is optimized when the other nutrients are applied in the correct quantities. apart from the crop up-take. amino acids etc. which is the case in many developing countries. Under good management and favourable climatic conditions. the other plant nutrients must not be neglected. denitrification and volatilization.7 times more K and 4.6 times more P. a more persuasive argument to farmers with limited financial resources. Work by IPI in India has demonstrated the same effect with potash. his tenure of the land is insecure etc. these nutrients have to be replaced if the yields are not to suffer. One definition of balanced fertilization is "the nutrient mix which gives the optimum economic return". is deficient. The same may apply where the farmer's financial resources are limited. There was a large increase in the production capacities and. it also resulted in the removal of 2. compared to the amounts removed from unfertilized soil. insecure land tenure. In fact. soils subject to erosion. In developing countries.. especially with the implementation of the steam reforming of natural gas. rather than a desire to build the fertility of the soil over a period of time. a substantial proportion of the nutrient is lost through leaching. hence. is likely to be the return he receives from the fertilizer applied during the season of application. Renewed applications of nitrogen fertilizers are necessary since. the yield response to nitrogen is large and predictable.9 times. This may be at high levels in intensive agriculture. 7 . The same applies to micronutrients. Hence. the farmer prefers nitrogen because of the immediate and evident return. However. in the availability. It stimulates root development and is necessary for cell division. In due course. unless they are replenished.
governments of developing countries. 6. http://www. Rome. 8 . The evaluation of the data from 100 000 trials and demonstrations showed that 1 kg of plant nutrient (N + P2O5 + K2O) from mineral fertilizers increased the yield. Later. farmers have been applying large amounts of nitrogen. it became a joint venture between governments of developed countries. as follows: Table 1 Average fertilizer response in trials and demonstrations of the FAO Fertilizer Programme. promoted the idea of "balanced fertilization". Organic sources are not being properly integrated with mineral fertilizers. The FAO Fertilizer Programme The FAO Fertilizer Programme.fertilizer. or without gypsum on a sodic soil. the fertilizer industry and FAO. with the continuous application of fertilizers without lime. FAO. This programme started as the international fertilizer industry's contribution to the FAO Freedom From Hunger Campaign. such as potash and micronutrients are hardly used at all. The results are summarized in the publication Fertilizers and Food Production. yields fell to zero. from its start in 1961. but it was found that the results of some 40 000 trials could be analyzed. In a long-term experiment in India. the supply and application of amendments such as lime have not received adequate attention in many developing countries. Under such conditions. reduces their efficiency. but only small quantities of phosphate.In Pakistan. the soil is depleted and it takes more nitrogen every season to obtain the same yields. The application of fertilizers without lime on an acid soil. When the soil pH was kept near the optimum.org. The trials were intended more as demonstrations than to create data. 1989 and are also available on IFA's web site. 1961-1986 Crop Wheat Rice Maize Millets Sorghum All cereals Root and tuber crops Pulses Oil crops Cotton Results evaluated 12500 22800 24700 3400 5600 69000 7000 5400 11000 7600 Most frequent range of Productivity Index* 4-8 8-12 8-12 4-8 6-8 8-12 32-48 2-5 4-8 3-6 * The Productivity Index is the amount of additional crop produced per kg of plant nutrient applied. averaged over all countries. the system became sustainable. Unfortunately. Other fertilizers.
a compulsory nutrient accounting scheme started in 1998. Nutrient Accounting All sources of nutrients. In the Netherlands. the terms "nutrient budgets" or "nutrient accounting" are used here. inputs minus outputs. 7. 9 . should be taken into account when determining rates of mineral fertilization. atmospheric deposition. and both their supply and their removal. The model is to be implemented in the individual Federal States. In Denmark. from all sources. This amounted to $6/ha for each ppm of increased soil test K. There are heavy fines in the event of infringement. An important tool for ensuring that neither too large nor too small quantities of plant nutrients. • Appropriate fertilizer strategies for intensifying crop systems. i. In Germany. thus resulting in the course of time in soil exhaustion. from whatever source. This resulted in an additional $350/ha net return to N fertilization. are applied is the calculation of the nutrient balance. phosphorus. and potassium from arable land. • The current efficiency of fertilizer use. The results demonstrated that the total nutrient input minus total output is negative in each country. biological nitrogen fixation. USA. particularly in countries with a manure disposal problem. water erosion) and the balance between the two. • The scope for increasing organic fertilization.Nutrients often interact to provide benefits beyond those possible for one nutrient. since 1994 farmers have had to prepare fertilization plans and the amount of nitrogen that may be applied to each type of crop is regulated. Land use systems were characterized by nutrient inputs (mineral fertilizer. The nutrient accounting technique appears to have been little used in developing countries. • Minimizing losses of plant nutrients from the system. Accounting systems based on nutrient input and output are now used in some European countries as a measure for the environmental performance of farms. denitrification. To avoid confusion with the term "balanced fertilization" dealt with above. Nutrient balances may also be used to identify situations where "soil mining" is occurring i. In Norway. Knowledge of interactions is important when trying to assess the effects of one nutrient application. Yield-limiting levels of one nutrient reduce yield and quality effects of another nutrient.e. fertilizer plans are now compulsory. leaching. Higher levels of K led to lower N requirements to produce higher yields and profits.e. 1996). nutrient removal exceeds nutrient input. In a trial on corn in Ohio. a federal "Regulation of fertilizer use" model came into effect in January 1996. FAO carried out a study of nutrient depletion in Sub-Saharan African countries in order to assess the net removal of nitrogen. it is a useful tool since it generates information on: • The health of soils in various areas under various cropping systems. organic manure. sedimentation) and nutrient outputs (removal of harvested crop parts and residues. reported by PPI (1999). which increased from $250/ha to $600/ha. as noted in a 1996 FAO publication concerning the Philippines (FAO. but. the optimum N rate at a higher potassium soil test level of 138 parts per million (ppm) K produced approximately 2760 kg/ha more grain with 45 kg/ha less N than did the optimum N rate at the lowest soil test level of 80 ppm K.
a country may have a national surplus while experiencing nitrate pollution in some areas and nutrient depletion in others. Currently. farming groups. the quality of the produce and the profitability of the farm. 8. Leake (1999) stated: Integrated farming is a recent development but it is already showing promise in its ability to deliver high yielding crops. But calculations on a national basis require careful interpretation. optimal use of water resources and erosion control are all taken into account. Integrated agricultural management – not "system". including molecular biology-based research. Fertilization and crop protection techniques which minimize adverse environmental impacts are adopted. Benefits to society from such research can be extremely large but will not be obtained without public investments. FARRE. For example. The concept is based on the German model (FIP) founded in 1987. Integrated Agricultural Management “Integrated farming” is a combination of farming practices . on a national basis. simply by using the FAO statistics on crop production and fertilizer consumption to compare the quantity of nutrients applied and the quantities removed in the crops. management of effluents and waste. However. The best combination must be specific to each farm. In the UK. “Integrated farming” takes systematic and simultaneous account of the environmental aspects. In France. the fertilizer industry. the “Forum de l’agriculture raisonnée respectueuse de l’environnement” is gaining widespread support. it is possible to obtain an approximation of the balances.with measures to preserve and protect the environment. precise use of fertilizers and crop protection products . environmental campaign groups and consumer organizations. Its aim is to develop an agriculture which is sustainable but which corresponds to the farmers’ needs and to society’s expectations. Soil and water resources and biodiversity are respected. low-income 10 . is crucial for achieving future food security. The results over a period of years may show trends which need to be rectified. LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming) has the support from the government. choice of variety and the skillful. it is not prescriptive – is in effect an Environmental Management System for agriculture.The report notes that the establishment of a "plant nutrient balance sheet" is a "complicated and long-term task and requires external support". research organizations. A. cultivation. Such a system offers a real alternative for European agriculture compared to conventional high input systems and organic low output farming.including the use of rotations. Animal health and well-being. 9. cost effectively with reduced environmental impact. The private sector is unlikely to undertake much of the research needed by small farmers in developing countries because it cannot expect sufficient economic gains to cover costs. Research and Extension To quote Per Pinstrup-Andersen (1999) again: Public investment in agricultural research.
must be accelerated. under economic pressures. 1999): 1. Application outside the growing season should be avoided and no fertilizer N should he applied prior to a fallow period. The scientific part of this publication is being up-dated and will be published later this year as "Soil and Plant Phosphate". to become just a commodity industry. but often they are not put into practice. but in most developing countries fertilizer use is so inefficient that the greatest medium-term gain could be had from improving the way in which currently available fertilizers are used. should be mobilized to help small farmers in developing countries. Integrated Plant Nutrition and other improved agronomic practices will certainly help in increasing the efficiency of applied fertilizers. when appropriate through split application. Fertilizer N should be applied at optimal rates according to a fertilizer plan that takes all N sources into consideration. IFA issued a publication entitled "Handbook on Phosphate Fertilization". The fertilizer industry is tending. 11 . communities. more recently George Cooke. von Liebig. the proportion of slow release materials.S. where a high percentage of poor people live. Laegreid et al. More research must be directed to the development of appropriate technologies for sustainable intensification of agriculture in resource-poor areas. In the new Norsk Hydro publication on "Agriculture. In due course.5 percent of the value of their agricultural production. and where environmental risks are severe. and governments better cope with risks resulting from poor market integration.. 2. While efforts to improve longer-term productivity on small-scale farms. Soil testing to determine the fertilizer need. and other factors. the following recommendations are given to improve nutrient uptake efficiency and reduce losses (M. Fertilizers and the Environment". Awasthi (1999). with an emphasis on staple food crops. research and policies are also needed to help farmers. Adjustment of fertilizer plans to correct for unexpected N losses due to heavy rains or deviations from forecasted crop development should preferably be guided by measurements with a chlorophyll meter. as well as better utilization of the insights of traditional indigenous knowledge. Continued low productivity in agriculture not only contributes to food gaps in poor countries. due partly to inadequate communication to farmers of information on correct techniques. The scientific basis of fertilization must remain sound. U. referring to the low efficiency of fertilizers in India. and others. suitable fertilizer drills for the placement of fertilizers. climatic fluctuations. The fertilizer industry started over 150 years ago as a knowledge-based industry. and partly due to a lack of motivation on their part to adopt them. Application should he timed to crop needs and development stage. but it also prevents the attainment of the broad-based income growth and lower unit costs in food production needed to help fill the gap and improve food security.developing countries grossly under invest in agricultural research: less than 0. wrote: Adoption of the best time. Many techniques for achieving this are known. In the early 1980s. method and dose of fertilizer application by the farmers is essential to achieve higher efficiency of fertilizer use. or similar method. 3. Lawes. There is scope for improved products. it is hoped to have a comparable publication on nitrogen. with the contributions of Gilbert. compared to 2 percent in higher-income countries. All appropriate scientific tools. poorly functioning markets.
Sci. but he needs to be informed. The application should preferably be made by methods that minimize losses and maximize utilization. Vol. the agricultural advisory services have been run down. by avoiding surface application. as exemplified in a paper by A. The Amalgamated Press. Paris. (1999) Mineral Fertilizer Production and the Environment. 12 . Vol. fertilizer recommendations could at least be made as simple as possible with a limited number of well-chosen grades. Options are soil incorporation. the distribution sector of the industry receives insufficient attention. the Philippines. India. Rome. sometimes from a previously unsatisfactory level. Even where the knowledge exists. IFA.R. Mumbai. 6. Leake (1999) the development of an efficient. Acad. Vol 96. Rectification of this situation would require a coordinated effort on the part of all the organizations involved. there remains the problem of communicating it to farmers. (1999) Nitrogen Fertilizer: Retrospect and Prospect Proc.g. Dobermann A. (1992) in the World Fertilizer Use Manual. References Awasthi U. FAO (1996) Plant Nutrition for Sustainable Agriculture. Fertiliser Industry. or band or point placement close to the roots. This is not the case in developing countries.S.H. the private sector etc.F. In the USA. AG:PHI/94/01T Technical Report. USA. Application equipment should be monitored and adjusted to ensure precision and control of the amounts of nutrients supplied. Today.XXII. (1999) Challenges to the Fertiliser Industry. NGOs. In most developing countries.E. The Philippines. e. approximately 40 percent of the farms in the United States and 70 percent of the dealers are connected to the Internet. the knowledge transfer system is highly developed. Annual Review. Annual Review. IFA. The supply of nutrients should be balanced so that the N utilization is not hindered by deficiencies of other nutrients. and good quality fertilizers that give an even spread should be used. Frink C. in co-operation the FAO and UNEP is preparing a number of publications on the subject. Forty percent of the on-line farmers have purchased products on the Internet. trained and motivated and supported by appropriate policies. There is no sign of this happening yet. and Ausubel J. India. Finck A. Dealers are beginning to help farmers to execute and fulfill production contracts. The retailer is in direct contact with the farmer and is therefore well placed to give advice. They are investing in information management systems. 10. Waggoner P. Natl. governments. The Amalgamated Press. These are all more or less common sense measures which do not require research. FAO. In the meantime. 5. Isherwood K.XXII. February 1999. However. (1998) Summary report on 1997 results of a project of the International Rice Research Institute.. In general.4. pp 1175-1180. Mumbai. the retailer plays an increasingly important rôle. Fertiliser Industry. cost-effective integrated farming system requires a great deal of applied research. With the liberalization of markets.R.
Küsters J. 30 November-3 December 1999. Leake A. October 1999.K. Fertilizers and the Environment. U. Long-Range Perspectives on Inorganic Fertilizers in Global Agriculture. Florence. Rome. and Kaarstad O. Laegreid M. (1999) Selected Aspects of the Future Global Food Situation. Smil V. U. CABI Publishing. World Food Supplies and the Environment IFA/FAO Publications Fertilizer Strategies Fertilizers and Their Use Fertilizer Retailing Guide (in preparation) 13 . (1999) Agriculture. 1999 Travis P. Bockman O. and Norsk Hydro. IFA Publications World Fertilizer Use Manual Controlled-Release and Stabilized Fertilizers in Agriculture IFA/UNEP Publications: Mineral Fertilizer Production and the Environment Mineral Fertilizer Distribution and the Environment Mineral Fertilizer Use and the Environment The Fertilizer Industry. (1999) Phosphorus and Potassium Economics in Crop Production. 25th IFA Enlarged Council Meeting. Better Crops. Alabama. IFDC. pages 30 and 31. (1999). Proceedings N° 438.K. Life Cycle Approach to Nutrient and Energy Efficiency in European Agriculture. PPI. November 1999.Wallingford. Vol. York.83 n° 3 1999. Angers. 6th International Conference of AFCOME. Potash and Phosphate Institute. Pinstrup-Andersen P. Hignett Lecture.R. The International Fertiliser Society.C. (1999) Presentation of the "Focus on Farming" Project.
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