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May 2012



agriculture IFA 2012 Norman Borlaug Laureates

TraPs workshop

addresses phosphorus knowledge gaps


Global Food Security Forum



Results concerning agriculture under the French Presidency of the G20 by Mylène Testut


velopment banks and the private sector. The second area of work is transparency and information about agricultural markets, which needs to be improved to avoid errors in market expectations. A joint database, the Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS), has been created and is housed at the FAO in Rome. It will allow data on production, consumption and stocks to be improved, starting with four crops (wheat, rice, maize and soybean). France will serve as chair during the first year. cont’d on page 3

Consensus reached on voluntary guidelines on land tenure by Samuel Gituro


n 9 March, after three years of negotiations, the Voluntary Guidelines on Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the context of National Food Security were finally agreed upon. This UN-backed initiative has involved deliberations among some 96 member countries, along with civil society organizations, UN agencies and other international organizations, farmers’ associations and private sector representatives. The guidelines’ core objective is to promote responsible governance of land tenure. Concerns have been raised about large-scale land acquisitions,

Photo © iStockphoto

hen agricultural commodity prices surge, the buying power of consumers is affected, particularly in the poorest countries, as shown by the 2007-2008 food crisis. When prices are very low, many producers, in both the North and South, are unable to cover production costs, leading to disinvestment or even financial failure. Therefore, during its Presidency of the G20, France decided that the volatility of agricultural commodity prices should be addressed by a meeting of G20 agriculture ministers. This meeting, which took place in Paris on 22-23 June 2011, resulted in the adoption of an Action Plan on Food Price Volatility and Agriculture.1 At the G20 Summit in Cannes on 3-4 November 2011, Heads of State supported the action plan, whose five areas of work respond to the multiple factors influencing the volatility of agricultural prices globally.2 The first recommendation presented in the action plan is reinvestment in the agricultural sector, especially in the poorest countries. Indeed, to avoid market tensions, agricultural production should grow at the same rate as demand. Thus, the action plan proposes the reinforcement and diffusion of research and innovation: in September, an initiative for coordinating international research on wheat improvement (wheat initiative) was launched in Paris3 and a G20 conference on agricultural research for development took place in Montpellier, France.4 Responsible investments in agricultural production are also of basic importance in this regard, and work has been undertaken with multilateral de-

including those in Africa and Asia by developed countries seeking to ensure their own food security. The guidelines are targeted at promoting equal rights for women in securing land ownership, creating transparent record-keeping systems accessible by the rural poor, and recognizing and protecting informal, traditional rights to land, forests and fisheries. cont’d on page 4

2 fertilizers & agriculture sustainability

The Arab Fertilizer Association focuses on sustainability and SHE issues by Shafik Ashkar


© C. Aholou

he Arab Fertilizer Association (AFA), established in 1975, is made up of Arab companies and institutions engaged in fertilizer manufacturing, trading and related fields. AFA’s aims include developing the Arab fertilizer industry and contributing to global food security. AFA maintains a strong focus on sustainability and on safety, health and environment (SHE) issues. The Arab region is increasingly at the forefront of the global supply and trade of fertilizers and associated raw materials. AFA coordinates technical relations among member companies, as well as addressing all issues related to the industry. The Association provides a framework, within which Arab companies obtain knowledge concerning the latest technological advances. AFA also gives Arab companies’ representatives the opportunity to strengthen their relationships with relevant institutions, organizations and companies internationally. AFA has conducted detailed, comprehensive benchmarking studies in cooperation with international consultants. Members’ performance is compared with that of other companies worldwide. One objective of benchmarking is to identify “best manufacturing practices” in regard to business and work flow procedures at participating companies’ manufacturing sites. In this way, all parties can benefit and improve every phase of the manufacturing process.

Benchmarking is not carried out in order to compile a list of all best practices. Rather, it is used to highlight the most common and important ones. This is considered key to effective process management. Benchmarking helps participants become more competitive; reduce their costs and increase efficiency; reduce their waste and emissions; and improve their quality and SHE performance. This year, AFA is creating its first Energy Conservation Task Force. It has the following strategies: • Consider energy management as a focus area for AFA member companies; • Develop and share knowledge and expertise in regard to energy efficiency; • Optimize consumption of resources, e.g. raw materials, fuel and electrical energy; • Identify areas for improvement by carrying out energy studies; • Develop awareness of energy conservation among employees, contractors’ staff and others, and motivate them to draw up energy conservation proposals; • Recover waste heat and effluent and minimize waste through recycling and reuse. AFA member companies aspire to achieve SHE performance that will set an example in the Middle East and Africa. They are committed to sustainable development – that is, to ensuring a harmonious balance between the needs of society and consumption of the earth’s resources. During the past few years, AFA and its member companies have worked hard to promote SHE best practices and to improve SHE perfor-

mance in every respect. In 2008, AFA launched a SHE award to recognize members which have improved their SHE performance, or which have demonstrated sustained and continually outstanding SHE performance. The first two awards were for the periods 2003-07 and 2008-10. This award demonstrates that companies with a commitment to SHE actively monitor their performance and assess their ongoing improvement efforts. Based on AFA’s commitment to support continuous improvement of SHE performance among Arab fertilizer companies through applying stricter controls on all SHE activities (in line with international best practice), AFA has developed and issued unified SHE Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) for AFA members. These will help them remain aware of current performance by other members, of what they can do to improve, and of how they can avoid harm to their employees and assets. AFA believes that sustainable development (like building a successful business) requires taking a long-term view. It also requires the integration of social, environmental and economic considerations so as to make balanced judgments.

Contact Shafik Ashkar Secretary General Arab Fertilizer Association (AFA) Cairo, Egypt

May 2012

cont’d from page 1

An initiative called GEO-GLAM, piloted by the Group on Earth Observation (GEO) based in Geneva, will contribute to AMIS through an improvement in data production using satellite images. The plan’s third area of work concerns international coordination in order to avoid uncoordinated reactions, in the event of world market crises. The creation of a Rapid Response Forum will allow countries to use an informal mechanism to predict and manage agricultural market crises, together with AMIS. It was decided to remove food export restrictions or extraordinary taxes for food purchased for non-commercial humanitarian purposes by the World Food Programme (WFP), and agreed not to impose them in the future. The fourth area aims to reinforce the protection of the most vulnerable against excessive price volatility through various risk management instruments. Initiatives have therefore been launched concerning market and structural instruments, particularly through a pilot project on a regional emergency food reserve for West Africa and a Platform for

Agricultural Risk Management (PARM). Finally, the G20 considered that financial regulation is necessary, and supported the recommendations of the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) to improve regulation of commodity derivatives markets, notably to give market regulators real power to intervene in order to prevent market abuses, including through position limits. Enhancing food security is one of the five priorities of the Mexican Presidency of the G20 in 2012. Implementing the Action Plan on Food Price Volatility and Agriculture will be a key element. h t t p : / / a g r i c u l t u r e . g o u v. f r / I M G / pdf/2011-06-23_-_Action_Plan_-_VFinale.pdf. The French version is at http:// 2 for-the-press/news-releases/g20-leaders-summit-final-communique.1554. html 3 See Annex 1 of the Action Plan. Also see:

© iStockphoto

Results concerning agriculture under the French Presidency of the G20

WI/International_Wheat_Research_Initiative_23062011-2.pdf 4

Contact Mylène Testut Head of “Development and International Organisations” unit Ministry of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries, Rural Development and Territorial Planning Paris, France

World Bank’s agronomic programme in Haiti to include zinc The World Bank recently announced that zinc has been included in its agricultural programme in Haiti. Following a presentation by the International Zinc Association (IZA), the Bank’s LAC (Latin America and the Caribbean) Nutrition group was “inspired by the zinc story”that is, the ability of zinc to improve crop production and nutritional value. The aim of the LAC Nutrition group is to examine existing structures in Latin America and the Caribbean to determine which areas are severely lacking attention, and to develop partnerships that will make those areas a priority. Micronutrient supplementation is one of the areas with top priority for Haiti.1 The LAC Nutrition group recognizes that improving the nutritional status of crops with zinc fertilizers is an investment with high returns. Zinc is affordable, effective and efficient, mak-

© iStockphoto

by Teri Kuhn ing it a viable solution to two of Haiti’s most critical issues: malnutrition and food security. Fifty-six per cent of Haiti’s population is at risk for zinc deficiency, the highest percentage of any country in Latin America and the Caribbean. Stunting (low height for age), an effect of zinc deficiency, is prevalent in 30 per cent of Haiti’s children. Zinc supplementation and zinc fertilization will reduce these percentages considerably. 1

Contact For information on IZA’s work with the World Bank and the Haiti Project: Andrew Green, Zinc Nutrient Initiative -


4 fertilizers & agriculture

cont’d from page 1

Global TraPs workshop addresses phosphorus knowledge gaps

Weak governance has long been a cause of numerous land-tenure issues. Efforts to address these issues are affected, in turn, by weak governance. Weak civil society, complex and inconsistent laws, and poorly trained, underpaid and unmotivated workers in land agencies are some of the reasons weak governance persists. In the end, the poor are on the losing end since they lack the capacity to defend their rights to land and other natural resources. 11 May is the date for a special meeting at which the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS) will consider the guidelines for final approval. “Once approved, the guidelines will be voluntary, but because they have been drawn up in such a comprehensive and inclusive process, and because there is this shared perception that a framework like this is sorely needed, we all anticipate that they will set the bar for policymakers,” says current CFS chair Yaya Olaniran. With these voluntary guidelines, civil society land right groups will be better equipped to carry out their work with rural communities. In addition, investors and developers will have clear indicators on best practices. Endorsement of the guidelines is a step in the right direction, but there is still much to be done. “What remains for us is an even greater task – implementation of the guidelines,” Dr. Gregory Myers, Chair of the Open-Ended Working Group – VG, emphasized in a letter to the CFS. “The participatory way in which these negotiations led by the Committee on World Food Security took place deserves praise,” adds José Graziano da Silva, the Director-General of FAO, who calls the agreement a “milestone achievement”.

by Roland W. Scholz and Désirée Ruppen

© iStockphoto

Consensus reached on voluntary guidelines on land tenure

More information:


he Global TraPs community met for a fourth workshop on 1618 March in El Jadida, Morocco. The workshop theme was “Defining Case Studies – Setting Priorities”. Among the 90 participants were scientists from more than 30 different research institutes, experts from the mining and fertilizer industries, representatives of international and governmental bodies including FAO, UNEP and the United States Geological Survey (USGS), representatives of NGOs such as Clean Baltic, Greenpeace and the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), and guests from the Moroccan phosphate mining company OCP, the workshop’s host. The Global TraPs (Transdisciplinary Processes for Sustainable Phosphorus Management; 2010–2015) are a unique transdisciplinary learning interface between science and practice. The project’s aim is to improve the mining, production, use and recycling of phosphorus from multiple perspectives. This goal is expressed by the guiding question: “What new knowledge, technologies and policy options are needed to ensure that future phosphorus use is sustainable, improves food security and environmental quality, and provides benefits for the poor?” The Global TraPs project was initiated as a partnership between science, led by Roland W. Scholz (Natural and Social Science Interface of ETH, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich), and practice, led by Amit Roy (IFDC). Its ultimate goal is to develop policy orientations on sustainable phosphorus management for decision makers. The focus is on avoiding unnecessary losses in the supply chain and on increasing efficiency through innovative technologies. The project is of particular interest to industry, as it offers a multi-stakeholder process that includes key agents from industry, farmer organizations, policy makers and science.

An important characteristic of the project’s transdisciplinary approach is that discussions take place in a market wise, non-politicized arena. Contested topics are openly discussed and new solutions may be considered. Since the project is organized along the supply-demand chain, specific groups of experts deal with critical aspects of exploration/ prospecting, mining, processing, use, dissipation and recycling. In addition, trade and finance constitutes a crosscutting issue-topic. At the workshop in El Jadida, scientists and practitioners intensely discussed which knowledge gaps to prioritize and how to address them with case studies. About 25 case studies have been drafted, covering a broad range of topics (e.g. increasing the efficiency of rock extraction and beneficiation, recycling intensive livestock phosphorus, and avoiding eutrophication of the Baltic Sea). During the workshop, representatives of African and Indian farmer organizations had the opportunity to present their main concerns to the plenum and to be closely involved in the finalization of case studies on, for example, access to fertilizers, cost structures of the phosphorous supply chain, and strategies for smallholder farmers. The 1st World Conference in March 2013, which may possibly be held in China, will present an opportunity for Global TraPs partners to realize the next important step in the process: the transition “from cases to options”.

Contact Désirée Ruppen Project Manager Global TraPs ETH Zurich Institute for Environmental Decisions Natural and Social Science Interface Zurich, Switzerland

May 2012

Unifa’s online “sustainable fertilization” challenge by Laurence Planquette


n France, Unifa (the French fertilizer industry association) launched a game last November with the aim of making the concept of fertilisation raisonnée (sustainable fertilization) better known. Unifa also wanted to increase the distribution of its “Ferti-pratiques” information sheets to farmers. This contest was designed to appeal, in particular, to young farmers (under 35 years old) and all agricultural students, in order to continue making them aware of the importance of good agricultural practices for balanced fertilization. The game, which was online until 31 March at, consisted of five monthly quizzes. They were created by agronomists for teaching purposes on themes including crop nutrition, good practices that respect the environment, and soil fertility. Participants were invited to search for the right answers to technical questions in Unifa’s “Ferti-pratiques“ information sheets (24 of which discuss plant nutrition and soil fertility). The “Fertipratiques” series can be downloaded at under “Nos Publications” (“Our Publications”). The prizes awarded each month were an iPad 2, five smartphones and ten “adventure boxes”. More than 700

students and young farmers participated in the game. To continue the teaching process, the correct answers were shown online along with the winners’ names and their photos. Unifa also gave a video projector to the school that had best motivated its students. One teacher explained: “My primary objective was to make the students aware of Unifa’s information sheets. When I suggested that they took part in this game, they agreed right away. I think this playful, modern way to enrich their knowledge is interesting. It corresponds well to their universe since they use internet easily. I helped during the first quiz. Afterwards, they did well on their own. At the end, we made the corrections together. For the lucky question, they were on their own. Another teacher added: “When I received the documentation for the game, I thought this could be a funny way to motivate my students because of the possibility to work in a group. I suggested it to them, and right away they were enthusiastic. I have to admit it’s more stimulating for them than a written exam … I reserved a computer room and they all signed up. What’s good for learning is not just the content of the questions, but needing to look things up on the information sheets via internet.” This game on sustainable fertilization is likely to be repeated in 2013.

Contact Laurence Planquette Communication and Development UNIFA, 92909 La Défense, France “Ferti-pratiques“ information sheets

IFA news Farming First Twitter Farming First reached 10,000 followers on Twitter! To celebrate this achievement, the coalition posted 2 blog articles highlighting the top ten tweet moments:

Feeding the Earth Series: 2 new issue briefs

Debunking ten myths about phosphate rock production. Trends from 1992 to 2011. IFA, February 2012. 4 pp.

Effective last-mile delivery of crop nutrition knowledge IFA, April 2012. 4 pp. w w w. f e r t i l i z e r. o r g / i f a / H o m e P a g e / LIBRARY/Our-selection2/Issue-briefs

Fertilizer subsidy situation in selected countries: 2010-2011 P. Heffer and A. Olegario IFA, Paris, France, April 2012. 14 pp. Restricted to IFA members. w w w. f e r t i l i z e r. o r g / i f a / H o m e P a g e Member/AGRICULTURE-COMMITTEE

IFA annual report 2011 IFA, April 2012. 24 pp.


6 fertilizers & agriculture


The solution for responsible, sustainable and innovative farming practices by the Canadian Fertilizer Institute armers can be more innovative in their use of fertilizers, in order to protect the environment and increase their profits. The 4R Nutrient Stewardship system is helping them meet these goals. Simply put, fertilizer is food for plants. It is responsible for nearly half the world’s food supply and is the most important crop input used by Canadian farmers. Canada’s fertilizer industry plays an essential role in ensuring that the world’s food needs can be met economically and sustainably. Our industry is science-based. It is committed to agricultural research and innovation to ensure environmental stewardship when fertilizer products are being used. Sustainability can be achieved by balancing the economic, social and environmental goals of our stakeholders – including farm groups, researchers, conservationists, governments, industry members and communities across the country. Environmental stewardship and sustainability are not new ideas for our industry, or for farmers who have long embraced the principles of best management practices in their operations. But as we move forward on the path to sustainability, it is increasingly important both to demonstrate our success in measurable ways and to identify areas where we can improve our performance. The Canadian Fertilizer Institute (CFI) is working with IFA, the International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI) scientists, the United States fertilizer industry, crop advisors, agri-retailers and farmers to improve fertilizer use efficiency, improve crop yields and protect the environment. This work has produced the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Initiative. The Canadian fertilizer industry is confident that this is the best method to protect the environment when fertilizers are being applied, while at the same time improving farm profitability.

© IPNI (left), CFI (right)


4R Nutrient Stewardship is a best management practice system with four key pillars for fertilizer application: Right Source @ Right Rate, Right Time, Right Place. This science-based approach helps farmers and the public understand how best management practices for fertilizer or manure improve farm profitability while reducing crop nutrient losses into the environment. It helps any farmer improve fertilizer use and create greater crop yields in an environmentally sustainable way. The Right Source means ensuring that a balanced supply of essential plant nutrients is used, including granular and liquid fertilizers or manures. The Right Rate means applying just enough fertilizer to meet the needs of the crop while accounting for the nutrients already in the soil. Farmers can use soil tests to identify nutrient shortfalls, and then use Global Positioning System receivers on their tractors to apply fertilizers at variable rates throughout a field. The Right Time means applying fertilizer when the crop will get the most benefit and avoiding times when fertilizer can be lost to the environment. For example, in the fall, soil needs to be at the right temperature to minimize nutrient losses into the atmosphere. The Right Place means the place where plants can easily use the fertilizer, and

where it is less likely to be lost to waterways or into the atmosphere. A good example of applying fertilizer in the right place is sub-surface banding in the soil near the seed rather than surface application. In other cases, farmers may need to establish buffer strips near rivers, lakes or wells. 4R Nutrient Stewardship is a flexible, unified approach – with all the 4Rs working together in a nutrient management plan. Proper nutrient management ensures that farmland and the surrounding environment will remain healthy for the use of generations well into the future. 4R Nutrient Stewardship clearly promotes sustainable development as it provides economic, social and environmental benefits. It increases crop yields, sparing land for other uses, and maintains or increases the carbon held within the soil, which plays a critical role in protecting the environment.

Contact Catherine King Manager, Communications Canadian Fertilizer Institute Ottawa, Ontario, Canada Twitter: CdnFertInst (See also IFA Last Mile Delivery brochure page 5).

May 2012

IFA and Fertilizers Europe cooperate on product stewardship

IFA job opportunity

by Antoine Hoxha


Director, Technical Service European Product Stewardship standard. The latest audit was performed in 2011 by DNV Auditing Services. It included all members of Fertilizers Europe. In recognition of the value of this programme, Fertilizers Europe presented Product Stewardship certificates to its members during the Board Meeting on 8 March of this year. Ben Muirheid, IFA’s Technical Director responsible for the Association’s Protect and Sustain programme, participated in the ceremony.

© Fertilizers Europe

ertilizers Europe represents the major fertilizer manufacturers in Europe. This Brussels-based association focuses on the latest developments in the industry and on solutions with respect to agriculture, the environment and natural resources. In September 2003, Fertilizers Europe created its Product Stewardship programme in order to improve safety, health and environmental aspects associated with the production, storage, distribution and use of fertilizers. The reasons for launching this programme were: • to take responsibility for the product through the value chain from raw materials to end use; • to meet public demands for openness and communication; • to share experiences and knowledge; • to provide a good structure for setting up product stewardship at company level. Total commitment to these principles is core to its membership requirements. The Product Stewardship programme is mandatory for Fertilizers Europe members and is audited by an independent global certification body. When IFA launched its own product stewardship Initiative, Protect and Sustain, in 2010, the two associations saw an opportunity to cooperate closely. This cooperation has led to an agreement that the European Product Stewardship scheme will be integrated into IFA’s global Protect and Sustain programme at the highest level. Each member of Fertilizers Europe, after a successful audit, automatically qualifies for IFA’s top-ranking certificate. And thanks to this cooperation, all IFA members now have the possibility to attain certification according to the leading

For more information, go to Fertilizers Europe’s Product Stewardship web site: or its corporate web site:

Contacts Antoine Hoxha Technical Director , Fertilizers Europe Ben Muirheid Technical Director, IFA

Safety is one of the three pillars of production for Fertilizers Europe, which organized its 15th Safety Seminar in Chester, United Kingdom, in April. For more information, go to:

IFA is inviting applications from qualified candidates for the post of Director of its Technical Service. This is a permanent appointment to the Paris-based Secretariat of the Association. The position includes extensive international travel. Under the direction of the Director General, the Director is responsible for the activities of the Committee and its working groups. The candidate will manage issues and projects within the areas of efficient and responsible fertilizer production, with a particular emphasis on promoting safety, health and environmental initiatives globally within the membership. For more information on the Committee’s activities, visit: ifa/HomePage/ABOUT-IFA/IFA-s-structure/IFA-s-committees. Relevant qualifications include: • Operational management experience in an industrial environment with experience in handling safety, health and environment issues • Native-level English • Excellent written and verbal communication skills • A global mind-set with the capability to work in diverse and culturally different business environments Expertise in chemical engineering, preferably ammonia synthesis or phosphate processing would be helpful, as would familiarity with the fertilizer industry’s business and public relations issues. Qualified candidates from developing countries and countries in transition are encouraged to apply. Applications should be received by the IFA Secretariat by 15 May 2012 at:


8 fertilizers & agriculture

IFA news Rio+20 IFA is engaged as an industry sector at Rio+20 through Business Action for Sustainable Development 2012 (BASD 2012), as well as through the Farming First coalition. Industry spokespeople will attend Rio+20 in June, speaking on various occasions and raising the profile of the agricultural sector in the context of the green economy. Farming First will co-host several side events, particularly on Agriculture and Rural Development Day and during the United Nations Global Compact days. IFA will also lobby, along with partner groups, to make sure the conference contributes to further policy coherence on food security and to reaffirming the central role of farmers and the private sector in providing solutions to current challenges. For more information about the UN Conference on Sustainable Development Rio+20: html For more information on Business Action for Sustainable Development (BASD 2012):

Roots for Growth IFA, together with industry associations representing Brazil, Canada, Europe and the United States, are launching in Doha an industry-wide communications campaign, “Roots for Growth”. This campaign seeks to raise awareness of (and share knowledge about) the fertilizer industry’s contribution to sustainable agriculture and food security. Several media tools will be used, including a video, a web site, and infographic presentations.

New “Female Face of Farming” infographic Farming First and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) have jointly produced an interactive infographic, “The Female Face of Farming”. Prepared for the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), it was launched on 8 March, International Women’s Day. This new infographic is a striking visual representation of the statistics underlying the urgent need to invest in rural women. It consists of 17 individually designed graphics, each of which can be tweeted and/or embedded for use in presentations or blog posts. Most of the data were provided by the FAO. Although women are the backbone of the rural economy, especially in the developing world, they receive only a fraction of the land, credit, inputs (e.g. improved seeds and fertilizers), agricultural training and information available to men. “Rural women are active economic agents who could unleash major advancements in hunger eradication and development if they were able to participate equally with men in the agricultural economy,” FAO Deputy DirectorGeneral Ann Tutwiler told the opening

session of the 56th Session of the CSW on 27 February. The infographic demonstrates the need to close the gender gap by empowering and investing in rural women in order to significantly increase productivity, reduce hunger and malnutrition, and improve rural livelihoods. Key statistics: • Women, on average, comprise 43 per cent of the agricultural labour force in developing countries; • Of those women in the least developed countries who report being economically active, 79 per cent report that agriculture is their primary source of livelihood; • Ninety per cent of hand weeding is done by women; • Female farmers receive less than 5 per cent of all agricultural extension services; • Only 24 per cent of African agricultural researchers are female; • The yield gap between men and women farmers averages around 2030 per cent, mostly due to differences in resource use. To view the infographic and explore Farming First’s new page on women: FAO opening session by Ann Tutwiler: webcast/2012/02/56th-session-of-cswms-ann-tutwiler-fao-opening.html The Joint Statement by the Rome-based Agencies – FAO, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) – on “CSW 56 Priority Themes: Empowering Rural Women to Reduce Poverty and Eradicate Hunger” is available at: statement-Tutwiler.pdf

May 2012

by Michael Hoevel


e have entered an era in which the possibilities to mobilize, inspire and harvest human intellectual resources seem unlimited. Through the process of “crowdsourcing”, multiple users are brought together to develop content or brainstorm new ideas. Innovative organizations can therefore harness the creativity of connected, increasingly empowered people. A few examples illustrate crowdsourcing’s potential. On the web site of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), which will take place in Rio de Janeiro on 20-22 June, there is a crowdsourcing initiative called “Pictures of the World”1. Global citizens are invited to upload photos that represent a sustainable lifestyle, accompanied by a description. The site displays these photos as a photo montage or in slideshow format. Using this simple, effective method of crowdsourcing by collecting digital photos, content is harvested from many sources while awareness of (and support for) the themes of the upcoming conference are generated. Moreover, a one-day event, “Rio+Social”2 is scheduled for 19 June, the day before the conference’s high-level sessions begin. A global conversation, it will take place both on the ground and online. Organizers and supporters of Rio+Social include the United Nations Foundation, the news and blogging web site Mashable3, New York’s 92nd Street Y4, the communications technology company Ericsson, and the energy supplier EDP. Discussions in Rio de Janeiro on 19 June will be streamed live, and everybody everywhere is invited to participate. The social networking channels to be used will be announced in the weeks preceding this event. Topics will include how technology and digital and social media can impact the major issues being addressed at Rio+20, such as energy, cities, employment, food, water, women’s issues, oceans and disasters.

© UN Rio+Social

How innovative organizations are using crowdsourcing to develop new content and insights

In April of this year, the humanitarian news site Reuters AlertNet launched “Solutions for a Hungry World”5, a multimedia special report focused on ways to tackle hunger. AlertNet invited submissions from filmmakers, photojournalists, social entrepreneurs, aid workers, inventors and others. A clear call to action was found on the report’s web site: “Your mission: Solutions for a hungry world. Let’s build them together; share your ideas”. Following the mission statement was a list of categories to which the public could contribute: smarter food, different food, urban food, fair food, and moving food (e.g. food transport innovations). This initiative was designed to encourage the sharing of best practice. An example of such successful sharing is Farming First’s animated video “The Story of Agriculture and the Green Economy”6. Food manufacturers are also engaging in crowdsourcing in order to innovate everything from individual product offers to their entire supply chains. For instance, Unilever is hosting a 24-hour global dialogue called a “Sustainable Living Lab” in late April 2012 which will allow registered stakeholders to engage with them around all aspects of their business impacts. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Grand Challenges Explorations”7 uses what could also be thought of as crowdsourcing. The Foundation has committed US$100 million to encourage scien-

tists to “expand the pipeline of ideas” to fight the world’s greatest health challenges. Since 2008, Grand Challenge Explorations grants have been awarded to 602 people from 44 countries. The grant programme is open to anyone from any discipline, from students to tenured professors, and from any organization (including colleges and universities, government laboratories, research institutions, non-profit organizations and for-profit companies. Grand Challenge Explorations features what its web site describes as an “agile, accelerated grant-making process”. Short, two-page applications for innovative projects may be submitted without any preliminary data. Applications are submitted online, and winners are chosen approximately four months after the deadline for submissions. Initial grants of US$100,000 are awarded twice a year. If projects are successful, an additional follow-up grant of up to US$1 million may be awarded. What these examples have in common is that they call for collective action to develop new content or insights. In turn, this helps organizations to meet their own objectives. age=view&type=12&nr=246&menu=14 &pic=750 2 3 4 5 6 7 1

Contact Michael Hoevel Director, Glasshouse Partnership London, UK


10 fertilizers & agriculture

2012 IFA Norman Borlaug Laureate Two outstanding extensionists have received the 2012 IFA Norman Borlaug Award for excellence in crop nutrition knowledge transfer: Greta Gabinete (Philippines) and Rikin Gandhi (India). The Laureates will receive their prize at the 80th IFA Annual Conference in Doha, Qatar, in May 2012.

Greta Gabinete is Director of the Research and Development Center at West Visayas State University in the Philippines. She has been instrumental in the development and transfer of sitespecific nutrient management (SSNM)-based technology for rice in the province of Iloilo in Region VI. Her work has helped farmers to increase rice productivity and improve their incomes. From 2006, she has used a systematic approach involving: the validation of SSNM-based technology for rice, the establishment of guidelines derived from SSNM principles, the development of locally adapted decision tools and aids for dissemination and for the establishment of partnerships enabling contact with numerous farmers, and ensuring that farmers receive and understand the guidelines for their fields. A number of innovative tools (including a quick guide to fertilizing rice, web applications of decision support software in the local language, and videos) have been introduced and used to facilitate technology transfer. By the end of 2009, about 4,000 farmers in the Iloilo province had been reached through training programmes, lectures and demonstration plots. In 2010/11, an additional 2,000 farmers were oriented and trained on the

© Greta Gabinete

Greta Gabinete – Philippines

SSNM technology. Through this approach, yields increased in most cases, raising farmers’ net incomes by the target level of US$ 100 per hectare per season. The results of Greta Gabinete’s work have been instrumental in the development of refined web and mobile applications of ‘Nutrient Manager for Rice’ in the Philippines.

Rikin Gandhi – India

© Rikin Gandhi

Rikin Gandhi is the Chief Executive Officer of Digital Green, a non-governmental organization whose interests include sustainable agriculture and technology for socio-economic development. He co-founded Digital Green as a research project for Microsoft Research India’s Technology for Emerging Markets team. This led to the spin-off of this organization, which works to make agricultural development more effective globally. Digital Green builds and deploys information and communication technology to increase the effectiveness of agricultural

development efforts. The unique components of the Digital Green system include a participatory process for local video production, a human-mediated instruction model for video dissemination and training, a hardware and software technology platform for exchanging data in areas with limited internet and electrical grid connectivity, and an iterative model to better address progressively the needs and interests of the community with analytical tools and interactive phone-based feedback channels. Digital Green has been shown to be at least ten times as effective, per dollar spent, in increasing the uptake of sustainable agricultural practices by farmers than traditional approaches to agricultural extension. Thus far, the Digital Green network has connected over 1,100 villages in India and Ethiopia and produced over 2,100 videos. It reaches more than 90,000 farmers each week. To learn more, visit Digital Green’s web site:

© Edward Kim - BIGSTOCK

May 2012

2012 Regional Conference The IFA Regional Conference took place in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, on 3-4 April. This is the first time the regional conference has been held in Central Asia. Participation from the region and by the international fertilizer community was strong and diverse. There were 109 participants from 51 companies located in 22 countries. This year’s event was somewhat unique, in that it combined content from IFA’s three standing committees under the theme “Expanding Your Horizon”. Over the course of the two-day programme, participants had the opportunity to learn about global, regional and national market developments, agricultural development in Central Asia, energy supply and regional fertilizer project development, and safety management in production. By including a session on safety in production, the Association showcased the importance of safety to the entire industry – demonstrating that safety is a priority for today’s fertilizer producers.

The day before the Conference began, the Technical Committee organized a workshop on safe and sustainable phosphate fertilizer production. The workshop addressed safety issues related to the naturally occurring radioactivity in phosphogypsum and phosphoric acid, as well as the recycling of uranium from phosphoric acid as a potential new revenue source for the sector. Looking ahead to 2013, the Technical Committee will organize a three-day “Global Safety Summit and Technical Symposium”. This will be the first time IFA has organized the two events in a combined format. Even greater emphasis will be placed on safety than in previous symposia, while maintaining a rich technical programme over the course of the event. The timing will coincide with the global SHE award ceremony. The recipient will have the opportunity to participate in a roundtable discussion.

© Ian Terry

IFA events 80th IFA Annual Conference* 21 – 23 May 2012 Doha, Qatar Held on the occasion of the IFA Annual General Meeting during which the Association’s officers convene, IFA’s main event attracts on average 1,400 participants representing 400 member companies from 75 countries. It has become a major meeting platform for the global fertilizer industry and is on the agenda of its chief executives and senior management representatives.

2012 IFA

Production and International Trade Conference*

Production & International 1 – 3 October 2012 Trade Conference Dublin, Ireland

This event offers an excellent opportunity to interact with senior executives from major international fertilizer producers and trading companies. A special emphasis will be placed on fertilizer markets, emerging projects, trade flows and the supply of raw materials.

IFA Crossroads Asia-Pacific 29 – 31 October 2012 Manila, Philippines Focusing on the pivotal Asian region and Pacific basin, IFA’s Crossroads Asia-Pacific is an extremely popular event, with some 300 participants in attendance. This event is organized under the guidance of the Regional Vice Presidents for all members with an interest in Asia and the Pacific as well as newcomers acquainting themselves with the Association in view of potential membership.

38th IFA Enlarged Council Meeting* 27 – 29 November 2012 Rome, Italy The situation and outlook for the fertilizer industry are examined in this meeting, during which members of the IFA Council and chief executives of its member companies convene to adopt the following year’s budget. *

Restricted to IFA member companies

More conference information To access general and registration information about these events click on “Events” at: A pocket-size events brochure can also be downloaded.


12 fertilizers & agriculture

OCP launches the Global Food Security Forum by the Global Food Security team


n 7-9 March in Rabat, Morocco, the Moroccan phosphate company OCP hosted the inaugural meeting of the Global Food Security Forum, an ongoing platform and partnership for dialogue and action initiated by OCP. The meeting brought together almost 300 experts and officials from 50 countries for action-oriented debate and collaboration on the challenge of sustainably feeding a growing world population. The meeting was co-chaired by OCP Chairman and CEO Mostafa Terrab and which has been one of the underlying Dr. M.S. Swaminathan, the “father of Indrivers of the food security challenge dia’s Green Revolution”. Morocco’s Minand of the food price volatility and food ister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Aziz supply shocks of recent years. ParticiAkhannouch gave the opening address. pants also stressed the importance of reFormer Brazilian President Luiz Inácio newed investment in locally appropriate Lula da Silva sent a letter of support for and sustainable innovation, with farmthe initiative that was read by Roberto ers themselves perceived and supported Rodrigues, Brazil’s former Minister of as innovators and entrepreneurs. Agriculture. Participants called for “relegitimizing” At a time when many internaagriculture as an attional meetings and initiatives tractive, profitable and ...the Global on food security are heavily sustainable livelihood South needs to be and career, particularly weighted toward the North, 70 per cent of the participants seen not as the lo- among the younger genwere from the Global South. cus of the problem eration. Finally, they They represented a wide mix of food security...  called on developing of public sector, private sector, country governments civil society, farmer, research and other and the international community to organizations. This mix reflects two funmeet their commitments to agriculture damental convictions of the Forum’s orand to push for greater rationalizaganizers: that the Global South needs to tion and effectiveness among the wide be seen not as the locus of the problem range of international institutions and of food security, but as a key driver of programmes that support agriculture solutions; also that the challenge is so and food security. complex that all parties have to work The meeting in March is just the first together. step in building an ongoing global comThe Forum stressed the need to reverse munity of dialogue and action around dramatic disinvestment in the agriculthese issues. In the coming months the tural sector over the past few decades, Forum will organize working groups on key issues emerging from the Rabat meeting, as well as a series of regional forums in Africa, Brazil, India and possibly elsewhere in the second half of 2012. These activities will lead to a larger Global Food Security Forum, with highlevel participation by policy makers, in Morocco in early 2013. For more information:

The passing of Mr Kenneth L. Windridge Mr Kenneth L. Windridge, former Secretary General of the International Fertilizer Industry Association (IFA), passed away on Sunday, 22 January 2012. He retired as Secretary General of IFA on 30 June 1989, following a successful career of 31 years with the Association. Ken Windridge was appointed Secretary General of the International Superphosphate Manufacturers Association (ISMA) in 1968. I first came into contact with him when IFA was expanding its activities and its membership in Asia, where I was based. We successfully started organizing regional conferences together from 1983 till 1987, when Ken invited me to join IFA. He had just overseen a major restructuring of the Secretariat and wanted me to play a role in the further development of the Association in the light of the importance of the emerging economies. As the “institutional memory” of the Association, Ken was of great help in shaping what IFA is today. I am grateful for the support and advice he generously provided. Luc Maene, IFA Director General

International Fertilizer Industry Association 28, rue Marbeuf, 75008 Paris, France Tel: +33 1 53 93 05 00 Fax: +33 1 53 93 05 45/47 Fertilizers & Agriculture is a quarterly newsletter published by IFA covering issues in relation to fertilizers and sustainable agriculture. Mailing list Subscription to Fertilizers & Agriculture is free of charge. To receive a hard copy, send full address details to be added to the mailing list. Additional copies may be supplied to organizations to circulate on behalf of IFA. To consult current and past issues of Fertilizers & Agriculture: LIBRARY/Our-selection2/Fertilizers-Agriculture Contributions We invite your contributions of letters, documents, articles, photographs, etc. Director General of IFA: Luc M. Maene Editor-in-Chief: Morgane Danielou Managing Editor and layout: Claudine Aholou Material in F&A may be reproduced only after prior consent by IFA. Reference to individuals, publications, research, products, companies or organizations does not indicate endorsement by IFA. For information on IFA’s © International Fertilizer Industry Association 2012 Printed with vegetable-based ink by Point44 on paper from sustainably managed forests.

Fertilizers & Agriculture, May 2012  

Quartely newsletter on fertilizers, agriculture and the environment by the International Fertilizer Industry Association.

Fertilizers & Agriculture, May 2012  

Quartely newsletter on fertilizers, agriculture and the environment by the International Fertilizer Industry Association.