Lakes Region of Central Africa. It has boosted soil health to grow more crops and – when linked
to favorable markets – increased incomes by 20 to 50 percent.
One part of the ISFM approach is the addition of secondary and micronutrients (SMNs). IFDC
trials in East Africa illustrate that crops and soils respond well to SMNs. Though the green
revolution increased use of primary nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium), farmers
have not replenished SMNs in the soil. IFDC’s semi-autonomous research unit, the Virtual
Fertilizer Research Center (VFRC), is working closely in these trials to create datasets that
include soil and crop needs by region. This dataset will provide researchers with accurate
knowledge to help farmers apply the right nutrients to the right crops.
“Soil, in a sense, is a living thing,” says IFDC president and CEO, Amit Roy. “As such we must
approach its health as we approach human health: balanced nutrition is imperative.” There
are organisms in the soil that help plants grow better. Often though, unbalanced fertilizer
applications can kill these organisms. The VFRC has released several reports that are unlocking
new knowledge about the “living” state of soil.*
“This is not a success story –
not yet. It’s a call to action.”
Further, IFDC is engaged in a public-private partnership (PPP) with NFT industries to develop
“seed core” fertilizer technology that utilizes micronutrients in simple fertilizers. This technology
features urea granules with micronutrient cores that increase micronutrient content in soil.
This technology will be an affordable way for farmers to increase yields and meet requirements
Now is the time for other organizations and governments to rally innovations that can both
nourish the soil and the people who depend on it. Current technology will not cut it. Nearly 1
billion people still experience chronic hunger. The scientific leaders met the challenge head-on
in the early 20th century, and now we too must overcome the barriers to global nutrition. The
ability of public and private organizations to develop new ways to nourish the soil in the next
35 years will determine whether or not the additional 2 billion inhabitants of Earth live fulfilled
lives. This is not a success story – not yet. It’s a call to action.
Reports Relating to Soil Health
All reports are available at www.vfrc.org/research/vfrc_reports.
2013/1: Following the Path of Nutrients in the Leaves. Renu Pandey, Vengavasi Krishnapriya and Prem S. Bindraban.
2013/4: Early Growth, a Vital Stage for P Uptake. A.L. Smit, M. Blom-Zandstra, A. van der Werf and
Prem S. Bindraban.
2014/1: Beneficial Organisms for Nutrient Uptake. Nina Koele, Thomas W. Kuyper and Prem S. Bindraban.
2014/2: Eliminating Zinc Deficiencies in Rice-Based Systems. A. Duffner, E. Hoffland, T.J. Stomph,
A. Melse-Boonstra and Prem S. Bindraban.
2014/3: Se Fertilization: An Agro-Ecosystem Approach. G.H. Ros, A.M.D. van Rotterdam, G.D. Doppenberg,
D.W. Bussink and Prem S. Bindraban.
2015/1: Beyond N and P: Toward a Land Resource Ecology Perspective and Impactful Fertilizer Interventions in
Sub-Saharan Africa. R. Voortman and Prem S. Bindraban.
2015/2: Nanoscale Micronutrients Suppress Disease. A. Servin, W. Elmer, A. Mukherjee,
R. De La Torre-Roche, H. Hamdi, J.C. White and C. Dimkpa.