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zinc in fertilizers

issue no.9 January 2013

China Ministry of Agriculture expands recommendation for zinc fertilizers to fall/winter crops

Full implementation of the recommendation in wheat and potato production will add up to 150,000 tonnes to zinc fertilizer market in China Zinc fertilizer has been recommended by the China Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) as part of the “2012 Scientific Fertilizer Recommendation Guideline for Fall/Winter Crop Production.” The recommendation covers fall/winter crops, such as winter wheat, potato, tea, apple and orange production in zinc deficient regions. This recommendation will improve crop yield, crop quality and human nutrition; it will also bring zinc fertilizer into the mainstream of balanced fertilizer management and increase zinc fertilizer production and use in China.

in this issue: Zinc’s role in agriculture has investors taking notice


Fertilizing Crops to Improve Human Health: a Scientific Review


IZA-FAI Award for Promotion of Zinc in Agiculture in India


One Indian state discusses zinc-deficiency in soils for the first time


Plant and Soil publishes Zinc Special Issue


ZNI Welcomes New Affiliate Member


Country Spotlight: Bangladesh


Zinc is the most widespread micronutrient deficiency in China, with 51% of soils found to be zinc-deficient, amounting to approximately 49 million hectares of agricultural land. Calcareous soils with high pH and low organic matter content, typical of Northern China, were found to be the most zinc-deficient. The major food crops in Northern China are wheat and potato with total sown areas of 23.6 million ha and 8.4 million ha, respectively. With an estimated 50% of the wheat and potato-growing areas being zinc-deficient, adding zinc fertilizer at the MoA’s recommended rate of 15 to 30 kg ZnSO4/ha (5 to 10 kg Zn/ha) will amount to 75,000 to 150,000 tons of zinc fertilizer. This is the third recommendation for continued on page 2...

Potato farmers in Anding County in China. Photo credit: Adrienne Chu. “Bottom Up.” IFPRI. 3.22.12.


zinc in fertilizers: january 2013

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zinc fertilizer usage issued by the Chinese MoA in 2012, which now covers most staple crops and many cash crops. For more information on ZNI’s activities in China, contact Dr. Ming Xian Fan or visit

Zinc’s Rise in Agriculture Sector has Investors Taking Notice In an article in Resource Investing News, James Wellstead, a resource extraction researcher, notes that the dual nature of zinc as both a proponent of improved crop production and human health is drawing attention from investors.1 “In the story of exploding global agricultural demand…zinc’s role as a micronutrient could turn out to be critical and lucrative,” writes Wellstead. Increasingly, zinc fertilizers are being used to reduce zinc deficiencies in soils, crops, and humans, especially in countries where zinc deficiency in soils is widespread, such as China and India. Today, at least 50% of all zinc production goes toward industrial uses such as galvanized steel. But with zinc fertilizer use projected to ramp up, Wellstead states, “zinc producers are quickly realizing that demand for the metal will extend beyond the industrial core and out into the agricultural heartlands.” To read the full article, click here.

Scientific Review: Fertilizers help crops grow AND contribute to improved health In a recent publication, the International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI) demonstrates the opportunity to leverage fertilizer towards improving the nutrition and health of many of the world’s most vulnerable people, in particular by providing the micronutrients that are desperately needed for a healthy life. “While fertilizer has been highly influential in increasing the quantity of food produced, it also holds enormous potential for improving human welfare by improving the quality of food,” says Rajul Pandya-Lorch, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).2 New research demonstrates that, In addition to producing more calories, fertilizer can also play an essential role in fighting malnutrition by providing the essential micronutrients needed by the human body. Micronutrient deficiencies affect the lives of 2 billion people around the world.

New App from IPNI: Crop Nutrient Deficiency Photo Library Based on the International Plant Nutrition Institute’s popular Crop Nutrient Deficiency Image Collection, a new smartphone application developed by IPNI contains key photos of classic nutrient deficiency documented from research plots and farm fields for 14 common crops. Zinc deficiency is prominently featured in 11 of these. Supporting text and illustrations of nutrient deficiencies are also provided. According to Dr. Terry Roberts, President of IPNI, “This is our first venture into mobile apps, and we think this offering will generate a lot of interest by...anyone wanting help identifying nutrient deficiency symptoms in common crops.” The app can be downloaded on iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch devices. For more information, visit: http://

The book provides compelling examples of the essentiality of micronutrients, such as the use of zinc fertilization in Central Anatolia in Turkey and potassium fertilization to enhance antioxidant concentration in tomatoes and soybeans. “The fertilizer industry is conscious that efforts to promote food and nutrition security should be done in the context of improved fertilizer management practices, such as 4R Nutrient Stewardship,” adds Luc Maene, former IFA Director General. continued on page 3... 1. Wellstead, James. “Zinc to Play Role in Agriculture Boom.” Resource Investing News. Web. 09.07.12. 2. IPNI Press Release. Nov 13, 2012.


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The peer-reviewed publication is available in hardcopy and is comprised of 11 chapters within three themed sections including: 1) Food and Nutrition Security, 2) Functional Foods, and 3) Risk Reduction. More information on this publication can be obtained from IPNI at

FAI Annual Seminar 2012, Agra, India The Fertiliser Association of India (FAI) held its Annual Seminar December 10-12, 2012. There were over 1400 participants, including 200 overseas delegates from 40 countries, making this one of India’s largest fertilizer conferences. In addition to presenting at this conference, IZA hosted a Zinc Nutrient Initiative booth, which was visited by over 100 delegates, including government officials, fertilizer industry personnel and representatives from national and international organizations, leading to fruitful discussion and several proposed partnership projects. For more information on the FAI Annual Seminar or ZNI activities in India, please contact Dr. Soumitra Das. Information on the IZAFAI Award, which was presented during the Seminar, can be found in a separate article on this page.

Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilizers, Government of India, Mr. Srikant Kumar Jena, Presents Zinc Award A prestigious award for “Promoting the Use of Zinc in Indian Agriculture” was presented to Dr. U.S. Sadana, Professor and Head, Department of Soil Science and Incharge, AICRP on Micronutrients (ICAR), Punjab Agricultural University. The Individual Award of INR 100,000 was presented to Dr. Sadana by Mr. Srikant Kumar Jena, Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilizers, Government of India during the Inaugural Ceremony of the FAI Annual Seminar on December 10, 2012. The Award was instituted in 2010 by IZA in collaboration with FAI to increase awareness of the importance of zinc fertilizers. About 50% of soils in India are deficient in zinc, a number which is projected to increase to 63% by 2025. Adding zinc fertilizers to crops grown on zinc-deficient soils leads to healthier, more abundant crops, which ultimately increases farmers’ incomes and improves health in animals and humans who rely on crops as their main source of food. “Dr. Sadana and his associates have done an outstanding job of transferring their technology for efficiently managing zinc deficiency in diverse soil and crop situations,” said Dr. Andrew Green, Director, Zinc Nutrient Initiative. “Their nutrient indexing surveys and zinc deficiency maps, along with extension articles, radio and television interviews, field day lectures, workshops, and demonstration trials have helped tremendously in creating awareness about the benefits of zinc in agriculture.” The first IZA-FAI Award was presented to the All India Coordinated Research Project (AICRP) on Micronutrients, a national level project under the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). In 2011, the second IZAFAI Award went to Dr. K.P. Patel, Research Scientist, Micronutrient Project (ICAR), Anand Agricultural University. For more information about the IZA-FAI Award, please contact Dr. Soumitra Das.

Pictured: (L-R): Dr. U.S. Sadana (the award recipient), Mr R.G. Rajan (Chairman, FAI), Mr Srikant Kumar Jena (Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilizers, Government of India), Mr S.S. Nandurdikar (Co-Chairman, FAI) and Mr Rakesh Kapur (Co-Chairman, FAI).

For more information about the FAI Annual Seminar, see the sidebar on this page. 3

zinc in fertilizers: january 2013

Dutch report urges greater focus on micronutrient deficiency issues including public/private partnerships to supply zinc to children, soils and livestock Large parts of the world’s agricultural soils are deficient in minerals such as zinc, limiting food and feed production and leading to nutrient deficiency diseases in humans and livestock. Every year, an estimated 800,000 people die from zinc deficiency diseases, primarily in developing companies. In a recent report and advisory memorandum for the Dutch government, the Dutch Platform for Agriculture, Innovation and Society highlights the key role micronutrients—especially zinc—play in global food security.3 The Platform has advised the Dutch government to give urgent priority to micronutrient deficiency on national, European and international agendas, specifically in four policy areas: raw materials, agriculture, development cooperation and innovation. Specific recommendations include a global survey of the availability of micronutrients in soils, to be coordinated by the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and a European program similar to the Canadian public-private Micronutrient Initiative, which aims at supplying zinc to children in developing countries, but also targeting soils and livestock.

First Chinese Edition of Zinc In Fertilizers Newsletter The August Edition of the Zinc in Fertilizers Newsletter was the first to be translated to Chinese in response to the growing interest of zinc in agriculture in China. Chinese translations of additional material from the Zinc Nutrient Initiative can be found on the ZNI-China page of IZA’s website at info/zni_china.

Zinc fertilizer promoted in a special demonstration and workshop in Ninxia, China IZA and NATESC (China National Agricultural Technology Extension and Service Center) organized a special training program for the northwest region of China to promote zinc fertilizer use for upland farming production in Yinchuan, Ninxia. Over 130 agricultural researchers, extension professionals and fertilizer industry representatives attended the workshop, which had the theme of addressing critical issues in crop nutrition, fertilizer technology and management in upland farming production. Speakers included Delegates visit Zn fertilizer demonstration sites in Yinchuan, Hebei Dr. Li Tiesheng, Vice Director General, NATESC, Dr. Province, September 17, 2012. Gao Xiangzhao, Director of Water Conservation Agri-Tech Department, and Dr. Fan Mingxian, Director, ZNI-China, who reported the latest developments of the project, especially the impressive results from research and demonstrations. Delegates also visited demonstration sites in Yinchuan, Ninxia, to observe zinc fertilizer effects on rice and vegetable production. For more information about this event or IZA’s China program, please contact Dr. Ming Fan. 3. The Dutch Platform for Agriculture, Innovation and Society is an independently positioned advisory body of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation. The mission of the Platform is to identify societal issues in the areas of agriculture, fisheries, natural habitats and food quality, and to link these issues with science and technology. For more information see


zinc in fertilizers: january 2013

Zinc fertilizers discussed for first time at state level in Chhattisgarh State, India


Long-time collaborators, IZA and FAI (Fertilizer Association of India) recently held a conference in Raipur, India on “Zinc in Crops and Human Health in Chhattisgarh State.” M.K. Raut, IAS, the Principal Secretary and Agriculture Production Commissioner, Department of Agriculture, Govt. of Chhattisgarh noted that it was the first time that zinc fertilizers was being talked about at the state level forum. He expressed concern that as much as 42% of soils in Chhattisgarh state are deficient in zinc and that there appeared to be limited availability of fertilizers during the state’s time of need. Mr. Raut spoke of his state’s lack of extension activities, appealing to all delegates in the state to take up the initiative in a mission campaign mode and address the issue in the farmers’ fields. He also requested the Vice Chancellor of the Agricultural University, Raipur to align the 20 Agriculture Science Centers (KVKs) to act as knowledge centers to disseminate the required training on zinc to the farmers of the state, saying that programs on zinc should be included in the farmers’ meetings and seminars.


Guest of Honor, Dr. S.K. Patil, Vice Chancellor of the Indira Gandhi Agricultural University, recommended the farmers of the state to apply 25kg ZnSO4 per hectare wherever there was zinc deficiency. He further mentioned that in the Agricultural University at Raipur, the Zinc Biofortification program was successfully progressing with the collaboration of the Department of Science and Technology. Two genetic lines have been identified in the rice variety ‘Swarna’ with 30 ppm zinc concentration in grains. Raipur is the only center in the country to identify these lines. The conference was attended by about 85 delegates representing the Departments of Agriculture and Health & Family Welfare, State Agricultural Universities, ICAR Institute, Agriculture Science Centers (KVKs) and the Fertilizer Industry. For more information about this conference or ZNI activities throughout India, please contact Dr. Soumitra Das.

Benefits of Zinc Highlighted at Micronutrient Conference in Argentina In November 2012, FERTILIZAR and INTA organized the Jornada Técnica de Micronutrientes (Micronutrients Technical Journey) in Pergamino, Argentina to promote the use of micronutrients, especially zinc, in the crop fields of the Pampean region of Argentina. The event drew 150 attendees and was sponsored by IZA, LATIZA, and affiliate member Produquímica. The importance of zinc was emphasized in all the presentations. Dr. Andrew Green provided an overview of global Zinc Nutrient Initiative activities and the opportunity provided by zinc fertilizers to minimize the impact of zinc deficiency in humans. Joao Moraes, Director of ZNI Brazil Program, provided an overview of agronomical practices for addressing zinc deficiency in crops. The prevalence of zinc deficiency and its negative impact on soybean, maize and wheat crop yields in Argentina were well documented by MSc. Gabriel Espósito, from continued on page 6...


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zinc in fertilizers: january 2013

Río Cuarto University, and MSc. Gustavo Ferraris, Dr. Hernán Sainz Rozas and Dr. Ricardo Melgar from INTA. The presentations included a map of an important grainproducing region in Argentina where 50% of the soils were shown to be zinc-deficient. José Francisco da Cunha from Agroprecisa gave an overview of the fertilizer market in Brazil and the current Brazilian practice of using soybean in the main crop and maize for the second crop, then covering the soil to promote nutrient recycling in the organic matter. For more information on this conference or on ZNI activities in South America, please contact Joao Moraes, Director, ZNI-Brazil.

ZNI Welcomes New Affiliate Member:

Plant and Soil Publishes Zinc Special Issue Papers from 3rd International Zinc Symposium now available to download Plant and Soil, a leading international journal on plant-soil relationships, released a Zinc Special Issue in November 2012, which contains 23 zinc-related original papers, most of which were presented at the 3rd International Zinc Symposium in October 2011. “I recommend this Zinc Special Issue to those who are interested in zinc research at the level of agronomy, crop production, crop physiology, molecular biology, environment and human nutrition. It contains highy valuable discussions, conclusions, and state-of-the-art literature reviews on zinc,” said Dr. Ismail Cakmak, Chairman of the Symposium. Among the papers included in this issue are “Ageing of zinc in highly-weathered iron-rich soils,” “Biofortification of wheat with zinc through zinc fertilization in seven countries,” “Biofortification of zinc in wheat grain by the application of sewage sludge,” and “Molecular mechanisms of zinc uptake and translocation in rice.” Plant and Soil is published under the auspices of the Royal Netherlands Society of Agricultural Science. To view or download the Zinc Special Issue of Plant and Soil, visit:

IZA Presents at Indian Science Congress on Zinc Nutrient Initiative Agriculture was a key focus of the 100th Indian Science Congress held January 6th, which was addressed by the Indian President, Pranab Mukherjee, and the Indian Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh. The Congress was attended by over 15,000 participants, with dignitaries from around the world including five Nobel Laureates. In his address, the Indian Prime Minister unveiled a new Science, Technology and Innovation Policy for 2013 and noted that “agricultural transformation” was the priority area for the country. Dr. Soumitra Das, Director of ZNI-India, was invited to present an overview of IZA’s work with the ZNI program in India and globally, highlighting zinc’s benefits to crops and human health. Other key issues discussed during the Agricultural Session were Nutritional Security, Bio-fortification and Micronutrient Deficiency.

Founded in 2007, Kronos Micronutrients is located in Central Washington State in the United States. Kronos Micronutrients manufactures liquid zinc sulfate and dry zinc sulfate monohydrate products. In addition to their production facility in Washington State, Kronos Micronutrients maintains warehouses in North Dakota and Nebraska. For more information about Kronos Micronutrients, visit: www. kronosmicronutrients. com.

For more information on the Indian Science Congress or ZNI’s work in India, please contact Dr. Soumitra Das. 6

zinc in fertilizers: january 2013

country spotlight: a look at zinc deficiency in countries around the world


• In Asia, Bangladesh ranks #1 in percentage of population at risk for zinc deficiency (54.8%).1 • Bangladesh is also #1 in prevalence of stunting in the population (50.4%).1 • 93% of soils in Bangladesh have some level of zinc deficiency—a third of the soils are highly zinc deficient.2 • Zinc-deficient soils mainly affect rice and wheat. Some studies in Bangladesh revealed the possibility of low concentrations of zinc in a wide range of foods and feed: fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, grasses and fodder crops. 3 • IZA currently has a joint project underway in Bangladesh with the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) to test and scale-up use of new Zn core-urea technology in fertilizers to improve zinc uptake in crops. 1. IZiNCG, 2004 2. Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council (BARC): 2005 3. Alloway, B. Zinc in Soils and Crop Nutrition. 2008

Upcoming Events: Fertilizer Latin America 2013, Sao Paulo, January 20-22, 2013 The leading networking event in the Latin American fertilizer market will be held on 20-22 January 2013 and will be hosted in Brazil for the first time. With the participation of Vale, who will be providing a site visit, and the support of International Zinc Association, IBRAM, Abisolo, ANDA and UNICA, the 2013 event is set to be a big success. Registration is now open. For more information or to register visit:

Zn and ZnO Conference 2013, Cancun, Mexico, February 24-26, 2013 The 2013 International Zinc Conference is the premier zinc event of the year, highlighting key industry trends and challenges. The 2013 International Zinc Oxide Industry Conference is being held in conjunction with the International Zinc Conference, providing a unique opportunity to learn about new research and market trends. Both conferences offer excellent opportunities for building business relationships and networking with colleagues. Registration is now open. For more information, visit: Zinc in Fertilizers is a newsletter published by The International Zinc Association (IZA), a non-profit organization headquartered in Brussels, Belgium. IZA launched the Zinc Nutrient Initiative (ZNI) in response to the critical issue of zinc deficiency in soils, crops, and humans. For more information, please visit Director, ZNI: Dr. Andrew Green. Editor: Teri Kuhn. ©2013 International Zinc Association.


Zinc In Fertilizers Issue No.9, January 2013  

Newsletter providing all the recent information regarding IZA's Zinc Nutrient Initiative

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