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February 2010

& agriculture
The Fertilizer The 4R frame- Agriculture
Society of South work: improving and Rural
Africa sustainability Development
in Focus on globally Day
2 6 8

Peak phosphorus: an issue to be addressed

by Michel Prud’homme

O ver the past two years, several ar-

ticles in numerous magazines and
other media have claimed that world
phosphate rock in the United States
are disconnected from market consid-
erations. They do not integrate inter-
phosphate reserves are shrinking rapidly national competitive factors, or rising
due to “extravagant” use of phosphate output in consuming countries and from
fertilizers and a perceived lack of sus- emerging suppliers.
tainable resource management by the However, there is indeed a sustainable
phosphate industry. Several research- Photo: A. Kotlarevsky approach to managing phosphate rock
ers are promoting the establishment extraction, reducing production and
of a non-partisan international body to processing losses, and improving the uti-
monitor, manage and provide policy di- lization and application of phosphate-
rection concerning phosphate supplies. Feeding the phosphoric acid reactor with based plant nutrients.
Research scientists and economists have phosphate rock. Darou, Sénégal. cont’d on page 7
published articles on the dwindling re-
serves of phosphate rock, with projec-
tions of depletion by 2030. These articles
have been sensationalist, alarming the Will the World Food Summit
public and policy makers about the con-
sequences for food security of depleting provide new hope for food
and mismanaging phosphate resources.
We believe that the public debate on security?
this issue is based on misleading facts
and obsolete information. Researchers
by Natalia Federighi
have made projections with a poor un-

Photo: IPGRI/ M. Hermann

derstanding of phosphate markets and he general perception of the out-

of industry’s approach to resources. come of the World Food Summit
All the studies on phosphate reserves in Rome, held on 16-18 November, is
have quoted the United States Geo- that it was less impressive than the one
logical Survey (USGS) as the main public organized in June 2008. The main posi-
reference on the current state of world tive outcome was an agreed Declaration
phosphate reserves and resources base. which, as some critics have pointed out,
The USGS estimates have not been thor- is not specific enough about the urgency the high-level meeting in 2008 and the
oughly updated for years and would of eradicating hunger (the target of the G8 process during the first half of 2009.
therefore appear incomplete. Neverthe- First Millennium Development Goal to Global food security is still very high on
less, this remains the principal publicly halve, between 1990 and 2015, the num- the agenda of developing countries,
available reference. ber of people who suffer from hunger, although the emphasis now - for devel-
Several articles have stated that phos- will not be met), while official develop- oped and developing countries alike - is
phate production peaked in the late ment assistance targets for agriculture more on the climate change dimension
1990s, while the facts show a steady remain somewhat vague. and on fallout from the economic and
increase since 2000 with a temporary This Summit represented FAO Director- financial crisis. For example, what will be
slowdown in 2008/09. Comments on General Jacques Diouf’s commitment to the impact on food prices post-recovery?
shrinking production and exports of deliver on the momentum built up by cont’d on page 4
2 fertilizers & agriculture

focus on

The Fertilizer Society

of South Africa
by Gert van der Linde

T he FSSA was founded in 1959 and

functions as a non-profit organiza-
tion. The Society currently represents
(IFDC) with arrangements for
congresses, symposia and workshops
when these are held in South Africa.
tilization and yield optimization. The
Fertilizer Society also initiated the estab-
around 90 per cent of the players in the lishment of an inter-laboratory analysis
South African fertilizer industry. It is Early years before 1982 scheme, with a view to standardizing soil
fully funded by mem- Seven people were initially employed by sampling and fertilizer analysis methods
bers, and membership the Society, and there were 40 employ- in South Africa.
is open to any fertilizer ees between 1970 and the early 1980s. The data from all this research formed
manufacturer/blend- Almost 80 per cent were engaged in re- the basis for the Fertilizer Handbook,
er/distributor in South- search projects funded by the members. which was first published in 1974. It is
ern Africa. In 1995, the Most research went into the fertilizer currently in its sixth revised edition.
lime producers and requirements and yield optimization of Using the skills and knowledge of the
distributors in South maize, wheat, sunflowers, dry beans and scientists employed by the Society, as
Africa joined forces pastures. During this period, several sci- well as data from the Fertilizer Hand-
with the FSSA. There entists from the Dead Sea Works were book, the FSSA played a leading role in
are currently four cor- seconded to the FSSA for three years the training of emerging farmers during
porate, 13 ordinary and two affiliate each to conduct research on cotton fer- this time.
members, including one member and
one affiliate member from Zimbabwe.
The Society’s mission is to maintain and
expand itself as an independent and
The FACTS scheme
authoritative body on fertilizers and The FSSA and the BASOS CC corporation • Mineral fertilizer use and the environment;
fertilizer-related matters in Southern administer the FACTS scheme, whose main • Structure of the South African fertilizer
Africa. To fulfil its mission, the FSSA fo- objective is to provide people with a basic and aglime industries.
cuses its activities on the following key understanding of fertilizers and aglime and Once enrolled, candidates are supplied with
objectives: enable them to advise growers and farm- the Fertilizer Handbook, as well as copies
• Facilitate effective liaison and nego- ers in an economically and environmentally of additional notes on the eight modules.
tiations with government, organized sound manner. The candidates can either study at home or
agriculture, and other interest groups It is also of great benefit to farmers to attend enrol for the week-long course at BASOS
which will enhance the interests of its the course, as they can then relate to and CC. Then they take examinations at various
constituent industries; interact so much better with their advisors. centres throughout the nine provinces of
• Assimilate, add value to, and dissemi- As time passed, it became clear that FACTS South Africa.
nate fertilizer-related information; could be utilized to provide extension of- Each candidate who successfully passes the
• Promote fertilizer and agricultural ficers with additional tools to help them in exam is provided with a credit card-sized
lime (aglime) practices which are their work. certificate by the FSSA, identifying him/her
agro-economically and environmen- Since its inception in 1998, more than 600 as an accredited fertilizer advisor.
tally accountable; candidates have enrolled in the course and The training scheme has gained in popu-
• Promote a code of conduct in the in- passed the written examinations. It consists larity. In 2006, the FSSA ventured outside
dustry. of eight modules: South Africa and presented the course in
All production, sales and distribution • The basic principles of plant nutrition; Zambia. The turnout of farmers was beyond
of fertilizers in South Africa are gov- • Factors that determine the growth of expectation, and the course was presented
erned by the regulations of Act 36 of plants; again in 2007 at the University of Lusaka. A
1947. These regulations need continu- • The origin, production and properties of new module on irrigation and fertigation,
ous monitoring and updating. To this fertilizers and aglimes; specifically designed for Zambia, replaced
end, the Society has regular meetings • Advice and recommendations regarding the eighth module.
with the Registrar, Act 36, to negotiate fertilizers and aglimes; The FSSA sees this training scheme as an in-
and advise on these matters. This ser- • Application methods for fertilizers and valuable tool for extension officers, in order
vice is provided to the whole fertilizer aglimes; to promote the use of fertilizers and good
industry. • Transport, handling and storage of fertil- farming practices in rural areas of Africa and
The Society assists IFA and the Interna- izers; help the people of Africa to feed themselves.
tional Fertilizer Development Center
February 2010 3

Between 1981 and 1982 South Africa en- • Arranging and facilitating proper posia, the FSSA Journal, and a variety
dured a crippling drought, while glob- forums where these concepts can of handbooks designed for the emer-
ally there was a sudden financial down- be discussed and promoted through gent farmer;
turn. During the same period, the whole technical symposia, conferences and • Positive contributions to a better
fertilizer industry was deregulated and workshops. To this end, the Society trained advisory and sales staff to
all price controls stopped. This meant, in targets suitably qualified speakers serve members, as well as training
essence, that the South African fertilizer locally and from abroad to convey a of farmers and students through the
industry was now fully exposed to world balanced view of fertilizer and aglime FACTS (Fertilizer Advisors Certification
market forces in a totally deregulated use and application; and Training Scheme) course.
environment, with no import tariffs or • The updating, maintenance and pro- Contact
government-sponsored measures, in- motion of FSSA publications such as Gert van der Linde
cluding no subsidies for agriculture. the Fertilizer Handbook, CDs of sym-,

After 1982
To survive in this deregulated environ-
ment, the FSSA had to be reorganized,
IFA Technical Symposium in South Africa
resulting in the closure of all research The IFA Technical Symposium will be held from 20-22 April, 2010 in Sun City, South Africa.
activities by the Society and the cut- This event has become a not-to-be-missed opportunity to discuss the latest technical de-
ting down of total staff to four. Most velopments with the world’s leading experts — while also promoting the global adoption
research scientists were seconded to in- of best practices in safety, health and environment in production. This year’s edition will in-
dividual member companies. The key ob- clude the participation of the World Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation (IFC).
jectives of the Society remained the same. IFC specialists bring a wide range of expertise in assisting industrial clients to identify value-
However, the focus shifted from hands- added opportunities in their business operations. IFC representatives will be available dur-
on research to the promotion of fertilizer ing the Symposium for one-on-one consultations to discuss project financing and advisory
and aglime practices through a variety of opportunities for assisting IFA member companies to implement sustainability measures
measures, such as: at their fertilizer production sites. For more information:,


GPIC “Seals the Deal” with UNEP

by Fadhel Al-Ansari

I n the months leading up to the Cli-

mate Change Conference in Copenha-
gen, the Bahrain-based Gulf Petrochem-
thus not only reducing CO2 emissions
but also increasing plant output and
improving energy efficiency. The com-
ical Industries Company (GPIC) actively pany is also urging other organizations
participated in the United Nations’ “Seal to meet their responsibilities to future
the Deal” campaign. The purpose of this generations.
campaign was to galvanize political will Environmentally related projects at
and public support for a comprehensive GPIC’s industrial complex include green
global climate agreement. landscaping, a fish farm, a bird sanc-
Beginning on 7 December, governments tuary, an aromatic plants garden, and
Photo: GPIC

met in Copenhagen to respond to one of several environmental awareness pro-

the greatest challenges faced by human- grammes. GPIC sponsors environmental
ity: how to protect the planet and create awards, such as the Delmon Internation-
a green economy, leading to long-term campaign in Beirut during the Sixth al Environment Award organized by the
prosperity. The Seal the Deal campaign Francophone Games in late September UK-based Royal Society for the Preven-
encouraged people worldwide to sign and early October, which was attended tion of Accidents, RoSPA.
an online petition that was presented by delegations of athletes and artists GPIC has been recognized for its
to governments in Copenhagen. from all over the French-speaking world. achievements in the field of environ-
Abdulrahman Jawahery, GPIC’s General Thousands of signatures were collected ment. Among others, it has received the
Manager, emphasizes that the petition during the Games. prestigious Sir George Earle Trophy from
was a solidarity message and a global GPIC is committed to working construc- RoSPA and the international Robert W.
call, intended to generate awareness tively to control climate change. Among Campbell Award from the US National
and action at the highest level. Rep- other initiatives, GPIC has commissioned Safety Council.
resenting GPIC, Mr Jawahery “sealed a CO2 recovery plant from the flue gas Contact
the deal” with the UN Environment duct in December 2009 and used it to Abdulrahman Jawahery
Programme (UNEP), followed by a joint increase urea and methanol production,
4 fertilizers & agriculture

Photo: IPGRI/ S. Mann

Will the World Food Summit provide
new hope for food security?
cont’d from page 1

Could this recovery occur in late 2010- of the Global Partnership for
11? And will there be another food cri- Agriculture, Food Security and
sis? Nutrition. Broadened to include
Food price increases in 2007-08 clearly stakeholders from both the pub-
impacted the developed and devel- lic and private sectors and non-
oping worlds quite differently. Many governmental organizations
small farmers in de- (and elevated to ministe-
veloping countries
have not been able
to respond quickly
 What will be the rial level), the CFS would coor-
dinate international efforts to
impact of food prices combat hunger as well as take
cially in Africa and within the CAADP
– Comprehensive Africa Agriculture
Development Programme - process),
to high prices due post-recovery. Will rapid and informed decisions timeframes for disbursements, wheth-
to structural con- there be another food on global food issues. It will be er humanitarian assistance should be
straints. Neverthe- crisis?  assisted in that task by an in- excluded, and other issues. This de-
less, in its post-Sum- ternational high-level panel of bate is set to continue;
mit assessment, FAO concluded that the experts; • a decision to promote new invest-
Food Summit had managed to obtain: • a promise to reverse the downward ments in agricultural production and
• a firm pledge to renew efforts to trend in domestic and international productivity in developing countries,
achieve the First Millennium Develop- funding for agriculture, food security in order to reduce poverty and achieve
ment Goal with respect to hunger, and and rural development in developing food security for all.
to eradicate hunger from the world at countries, and to significantly increase
the earliest date possible; their share in public development Contact
• another pledge to improve inter- aid. This promise is largely based on Natalia Federighi, Director of Public
national coordination and the gov- the L’Aquila G8 commitments. There Affairs, Yara International S.A.
ernance of food security through a was considerable debate concern-
profound reform of FAO’s Committee ing whether this would constitute
on World Food Security (CFS), which new or recycled funding, what the FAO World Food Summit:
would become a central component target countries should be (espe-

Excerpts from IFA’s call on World Food Day

I mproved agricultural technologies and management ap-
proaches have doubled the production of world food calo-
ries over the past half-century. The shadow of famine and food
Food security and environmental protection are not mutually
exclusive goals. Good agricultural practices - such as integrat-
ed crop, pest, plant nutrition and soil fertility management and
shortages has been lifted from developed countries but not fertilizer best management practices - promote the responsible
from developing countries, where most smallholder farmers use of agricultural inputs for greater use-efficiency and cost-
struggle to achieve even the most basic level of subsistence. efficiency for the farmers and fewer losses to the environment.
They lack access to the existing technology, tools, inputs and The knowledge and benefits must be made available to all
knowledge required to manage their land and grow sufficient farmers, recognizing their role as guardians of our shared envi-
crops. ronment, biodiversity and ecosystems. Women farmers should
The FAO’s Director General Jacques Diouf opened the High- become specially targeted recipients because of their vital roles
Level Expert Forum on 12 October by stating that “there in the agricultural workforce, household food procurement
should be a special focus on smallholder farmers [and] their and preparation, and family unit support.
access to land, water, quality seeds and fertilizers.” He added
that “organic agriculture cannot feed 6.8 billion today and 9 There is a need for a radical shift in thinking which places
billion in 2050.” the farmer (including women, youth and agricultural workers)
(...) Integrated agriculture based on the judicious use of tech- at the centre of sound and sustainable agricultural practices.
nology and inputs (such as seeds, manures, fertilizers and crop Farmers deserve a choice between farming systems and all
protection products) and good agricultural practices can in- stakeholders need to do more to offer them the best technolo-
crease farm production in a sustainable way. By increasing ag- gies to choose from. In particular, they must be involved in
ricultural productivity and decreasing waste and losses, inputs implementing climate change mitigation strategies. To support
- such as plant nutrients (from organic and inorganic sources) them, we must create sound and reliable incentives; we must
and crop protection products - can significantly mitigate the share knowledge and make adequate tools and technolo-
effects of climate change, prevent deforestation, and protect gies accessible so that farmers deliver both food and energy
biodiversity. security.
February 2010 5

The Fertilizer Industry Round Table

Providing insight on technologies and issues impacting
plant nutrition for tomorrow’s agriculture
by Don Messick
As I travel to various nations worldwide, FIRT remains a vibrant group serving as
I get to see a lot of fertilizer operations. the “go-to” organization for talent in
I am sitting in Delhi’s airport working this aspect of the industry.
my way home from the Today’s members frequently receive re- More information
Fertiliser Association ports on activities in countries through- Don Messick is Staff Vice President
of India’s Annual Semi- out Asia, the former Soviet Union, Latin of The Sulphur Institute and Chairman
nar. Paging through my America and a host of others. Technol- of the Board of Directors, Fertilizer
notes, I am reminded ogy not only refers to production mech- Industry Round Table.
how fertilizer technol- anisms; it has expanded to address-
ogy has changed during ing global fertilizer security, dramatic
my career. The Fertilizer changes in intellectual technology, and
Industry Round Table enhancing productivity while consider-
(FIRT) has provided a fo- ing climate change.
rum for industry profes- For the past few years, FIRT has joined
sionals to share ideas on what technolo-
gies stand to serve agriculture of the
forces with The Fertilizer Institute (TFI)
to deliver the Fertilizer Outlook and
IFA news
future. Parts of the world may still rely Technology Conference. This confer-
on hand application of fertilizers, but ence is held in October or November in
today better quality products, helping various US cities with relevance to fer-
to minimize losses and improving crop tilizer. In October 2009, more than 200
production and quality, are all the more delegates gathered in Tampa, Florida, to for Excellence in Safety, Health
common. evaluate developments and challenges and the Environment in Fertilizer
The Fertilizer Industry Round Table was facing the industry. Who would have Production (SHE)
formed more than 50 years ago. Prior to thought in 1955, when the group was
its creation, the industry relied on an an- founded, that such a broad range of sub- The Award is open to IFA members only and
nual meeting of the American Chemical ject matter would be a part of the pro- is given to an individual production site for
Conference to consider future direction. gramme? In recent years, there has been its efforts, contributions and/or innovations
Recognizing the importance of reaching a dramatic look for ways to improve effi- to enhance safety, health and environmen-
out to a broader representation of the ciency and still increase production, with tal performance in fertilizer production.
industry, a core group formed FIRT. In a significant portion of the world still Preference is given to companies which
1955, the first official meeting was held undernourished. For years the industry have demonstrated significant innovation
in Washington, D.C. with 11 papers pre- focused on delivering N-P-K, but today’s and/or improvement in SHE by minimizing
sented. Membership of that core group considerations include sulphur, zinc, harm, enhancing production efficiency, im-
became the Executive Committee, which boron and other nutrients, controlled- proving/enhancing environmental sustain-
welcomed even more names well-known release technologies, and agriculture’s ability and occupational health – and which
to the industry: Frank “Slugger” Niels- role as an energy source with renewable have a proven record in SHE performance.
son (inventor of the Tennessee Valley fuels, just to name a few. The application should be submitted on
Authority’s granulator), Al Spillman, Joe The Fertilizer Industry Round Table of- a company letterhead and should also be
Reynolds, Vince Sauchelli, Frank Achorn, fers its conference each year, collectively made available electronically to the IFA Sec-
Houston Marshall and Walt Sackett, who providing supply and demand outlooks retariat no later than 30 May 2010.
has been a fixture within the organiza- for nutrients and raw materials with TFI, The 2nd edition of the IFA Green Leaf Award
tion and remains active today. while focusing on technological strate- will be announced during the 2011 IFA
In 1963, interest in FIRT drew more than gies for tomorrow’s agriculture. Visit Safety Summit. The Award Laureate will be
600 professionals to its annual meeting. for papers and presenta- requested to provide a presentation on its
The group further expanded its horizons tions from past meetings dating back SHE activities during this event.
with global participation. But with tre- to its creation, plus information about Should you need assistance with the appli-
mendous changes in the fertilizer indus- upcoming events. The Fertilizer Industry cation process, contact: Sophie Palmié,
try, the number of those involved in fer- Round Table is a non-profit organiza-, Fax: +33 1 53 93 05 47
tilizer technology for today’s companies tion governed by a board of directors,
has shrunk dramatically. Despite this, all contributing on a volunteer basis. TECHNICAL-COMMITTEE/IFA-SHE-Award
6 fertilizers & agriculture

Understanding the The 4R framework:

Nitrous Oxide Emissions
Reduction Protocol
improving sustainability globally
by Doug Beever
The Nitrous Oxide Emissions Reduction Pro-
tocol (NERP) is intended to reduce on-farm Nutrients play a critical role in
emissions of nitrous oxide (N2O) in a quan- the economic, social and en-
tifiable, credible and verifiable way that vironmental sustainability of
allows farmers to earn carbon credits. It societies around the world.
is currently being readied for introduction They support the production
in Alberta, the first jurisdiction in North of affordable and nutritious
America to actively regulate greenhouse food, they replenish our soils,
gas (GHG) emissions and establish a regu- and they provide valuable in-
latory carbon trading market. come for growers by improv-
NERP is a good example of the public and ing crop yields and quality.
private sectors working together to assist This benefits everyone from
farmers to implement Best Management growers to the communities
Practices (BMPs) on-farm, as well as to that depend on them. However, im- Supporting policy and science
reduce overall GHG emissions. Initiated proper nutrient use can have negative development
by the Canadian Fertilizer Institute (CFI), impacts on sustainability. These impacts The 4R framework provides policy mak-
NERP is the result of collaborative action need to be minimized. ers and researchers with a foundation
that includes the Alberta government, The 4R Global Nutrient Stewardship they can use to improve performance
Climate Change Central, ClimateCHECK Framework (4R framework) allows sustainably through the development
Corporation and the International Plant growers to meet their sustainability and implementation of best manage-
Nutrition Institute (IPNI). goals through the adoption of best man- ment practices. While new practices
NERP is based on applying fertilizer us- agement practices in four key areas: nu- will play an important role, significant
ing BMPs that are part of the 4R nutrient trient source, rate, time and place. The progress can be made by applying exist-
stewardship system. This system encour- framework recognizes that what is right ing practices in combination. The infor-
ages farmers to apply fertilizer products for one area may not work in another. mation needed to do this effectively is
using the Right Source @ Right Rate, Right Best management practices must be cus- lacking in some areas, and researchers
Time, Right Place® framework. Farmers tomized to address ecological and social will need support from growers, gov-
can participate in NERP by implementing differences; it is also clear that practices ernment and industry to fill the gaps.
a suitable management level from basic must be implemented in all four areas However, the 4R framework provides a
through intermediate, or even advanced. to be effective. While that adds some structure that can help focus this effort
NERP supports the three pillars of sustain- complexity, it is a scientific reality. By in a manner that is both efficient and
able development, namely environmen- recognizing this within the framework, balanced.
tal, social and economic sustainability. we can achieve more consistent and real From a stakeholder engagement per-
If farmers meet the criteria outlined in improvements in performance. spective, the framework provides a
NERP, they may qualify for an offset credit science-based approach that allows all
equal to Can $5-$10 per acre. They would The communication challenge stakeholders to participate. It also pro-
also be improving the economics of their Perhaps the greatest challenge faced vides the foundation for environmental
farm, while doing the right thing in reduc- by the nutrients industry is communi- goods and services. This allows farmers
ing greenhouse gas emissions. cation. Nutrient use and best manage- to receive payments for the implemen-
Alberta may be the first political entity to ment practices can be complex and dif- tation of best management practices
approve the use of NERP in its provincial ficult to communicate. The impacts on that deliver real environmental benefits,
carbon marketplace, but the potential sustainability goals are often unclear or such as reduced greenhouse gas emis-
does not end there. While NERP was de- misaligned. The 4R framework simplifies sions—supporting the growers’ goals
veloped in Canada, it was designed to be communication and more clearly dem- of economic sustainability and reduced
flexible enough for application anywhere onstrates how our sector is working to environmental impact.
in the world where nitrogen-containing address stakeholder concerns. It offers a The 4R framework provides a solid
fertilizers or recycled bio-solids are applied sustainable solution through “a practi- foundation for stakeholders to work to-
to farmland. It will help reduce emissions cal, science-based approach to nutrient gether and improve performance. While
and provide an opportunity for the agri- use”. This unified approach allows all there is much work to be done, this is a
cultural community to become involved concerned stakeholders to speak with meaningful step towards sustainability.
by earning offset credits. one voice, and to focus limited resources
For more information: to achieve real improvements in perfor- Contact mance. Doug Beever:
February 2010 7

Peak phosphorus: an issue to be addressed

cont’d from page 1

This issue merits further understand- tion of a series

ing and could be segmented into three of scientific pa-
parts, each of which ought to receive pers by provid-
specific attention: ing information
• The knowledge of phosphate reserves on historical
and resources base; and current pro-
• The current use, production and prod- duction and ex-
uct flow of phosphate; plaining product

Photo: IFA
• The long-term projection of plant nu- flows and fu-
trient phosphorus consumption. ture production
IFA needs to be involved in the debate, trends. Phosphate rock loading. Khouribga, Morocco.
through providing sound factual infor- • IFA will participate
mation on the state of the phosphate in a new initiative launched by the available information on reserves and
market and partnering with other stake- International Center for Soil Fertility an assessment of the existing method-
holders to update the publicly available and Agricultural Development (IFDC) ologies for estimating phosphate rock
information. to update knowledge of phosphate resources. This phase will be conduct-
Over the past year, several actions and reserves. In December 2009, IFDC an- ed internally by IFDC. It would lead to
initiatives have been undertaken to en- nounced the implementation of a the preparation of a paper by mid-
rich the debate: multi-year “Phosphate Resources and 2010. Such a document would dispel
• The Secretariat has been contacted by Research Initiative” with the objec- the myth of the known status of world
media representatives and scientists tive of reassessing world phosphate phosphate reserves, and would facili-
seeking an industry position on this reserves. IFDC has approached IFA to tate future compilation work on geo-
issue. IFA has responded by providing participate in this initiative and pro- logical data. The next phase would
factual information and questioning vide guidance on its implementation. assess the technical and economic as-
some of the protocols followed by a The initiative is led by Steven J. Van pects of phosphate supply.
few researchers. The most recent fea- Kauwenbergh, Principal Scientist and • IFA and the World Phosphate Institute
ture article on peak phosphate was Leader of the IFDC Phosphate Re- (IMPHOS) have initiated the prepara-
published in the journal Nature in sources and Research Initiative. Ste- tion of a joint paper on current use
early October (Nature 461, 7 October, ven van Kauwenbergh works in the and product flows of phosphate, from
716-718). IFA is quoted as expressing Research and Development Division of the minesite to major end-uses. This
the need to base further research on IFDC in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, USA. paper would provide key facts about
facts, not obsolete data. IFA has also The first phase of the initiative com- phosphate supply and demand and
actively participated in the prepara- prises a review of existing, publicly confirm the need for a reassessment
of world phosphate resources. IFA has
World phosphate rock production: 1970-2009 completed a study of global product
flows based on major end-uses and
has just launched a global survey on
Million tonnes phosphate rock 180 phosphate production losses and re-
covery factors. This information will
contribute to the debate by providing
missing data to the general public and
researchers, on the basis of which fur-
120 ther research could be undertaken.
The third aspect would be the prepara-
tion of a very long-term projection of
90 phosphate fertilizer consumption. All
the current research has projected a
simple linear growth of phosphate de-
mand, without considering future plant
nutrient efficiency and stabilizing con-
30 sumption in maturing markets.
By mid-2010, our efforts, with partners
such as IFDC, IMPHOS, and others like
0 the International Plant Nutrition Insti-
1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2009 tute (IPNI), will contribute positively and
Source: Phosphate Rock Statistics - IFA PIT Committee - December 2009 pro-actively to this debate.
8 fertilizers & agriculture

Photos: IFA/ M. Danielou

Agricultural community
addresses recommendations
to negotiating governments
at COP15
T hree hundred and fifty agricultural
specialists attended the Agriculture
and Rural Development Day at the Uni-
versity of Copenhagen on 12 December
2009, organized jointly by the Consulta- IFA exhibition stand with
Morgane Danielou (left)
tive Group on International Agricultural
Research (CGIAR) and the Global Donor • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions
Platform. This side-event to the Confer- Business day and sequestering carbon from agricul-
ence of the Parties (COP15) was timely, Land Resources, Water Resources, and ture and forests must be an essential
given the introduction of agriculture in Biodiversity in the United States. component of any strategy to keep
the negotiated text during the months The Agriculture and Rural Development global warming below the 2° Celsius
leading to the Conference. The highlight Day concluded with the premiere of a threshold. Climate adaptation and
of the day was the official address by US documentary film, “Hope in a Changing mitigation measures must have multi-
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. Climate” by John D. Liu. This film demon- ple sustainable development benefits,
Secretary Vilsack presented an eloquent strates that it is possible to rehabilitate including conservation of biodiversity
case for the challenge to agriculture of large-scale damaged ecosystems, restore and ecosystem services.
both doubling food production by 2050 ecosystem functions in areas where they • The communities:
and reducing its emissions drastically. He have been lost, fundamentally improve Agree it is critical that food security be
emphasized the role of what he referred the lives of people trapped in poverty for integrated in the shared vision of the
to as “21st century agricultural technolo- generations, and sequester carbon natu- Long Term Cooperative Action text, in
gies”, which have rally. Examples from China order to open the door to adaptation
made possible the
breakthroughs need-  Agriculture is
ed to feed a multiply- 7 per cent of the GHG
(Loess Plateau), Ethiopia
and Rwanda demonstrate
the possibility of radically
and mitigation support;
Urge climate negotiators to agree on
the early establishment of an agricul-
ing population. He problem, but represents changing entire landscapes tural work programme under the SB-
also spoke highly of 20 per cent of the through good agricultural STA (Subsidiary Body for Scientific and
Dr. Norman Borlaug, practices (particularly ter- Technological Advice);
solution. 
citing the dramatic racing), focusing on the res- Look for agreement that REDD (the
changes in agricultural productivity toration of soils and their fertility. The United Nations Collaborative Pro-
ushered in through his work. Secretary 30-minute documentary was produced gramme on Reducing Emissions from
Vilsack emphasized the importance of for the British Broadcasting Corporation Deforestation and Forest Degradation
technologies such as precision nutrient (BBC) by the Environmental Education in Developing Countries) includes ag-
management, stress-resistant crops, no- Media Project. riculture, forestry and other land uses;
till and irrigation. He also mentioned Following the Agriculture and Rural De- Believe that the LULUCF (Land Use,
the private sector’s important role in velopment and Forest Days, a joint state- Land-Use Change and Forestry) ac-
developing and delivering these tech- ment was issued by the agriculture and counting system needs to be favour-
nologies. The Secretary presented the forest communities, “Beyond Copenha- able to agriculture.
work of the United States Department gen: Agriculture and Forestry Are Part of
of Agriculture (USDA) in relation to cli- the Solution”: More information
mate change adaptation and mitigation • Forestry and agriculture are where  For the full statement and reports
strategies for the agricultural sector. He poverty reduction, food security and from the Agriculture and Rural
concluded by stressing the importance climate change come together and Development Day:
of understanding linkages between must be addressed in an integrated
land deforestation and agricultural pro- fashion. [This was] the key message  “Hope in a Changing Climate”
ductivity,  noting that in 2010 USDA will today to negotiators from the agri- can be viewed on:
release an update of its report on The Ef- culture and forestry communities at
fects of Climate Change on Agriculture, COP15, today.
February 2010 9

Strengthening our IFA news

relationship with IFA releases scientific review

farming communities report on greenhouse gas

budgets of crop production
In January, IFA released
Greenhouse Gas Bud-
gets of Crop Produc-

A jay Vashee, President of the Inter-

national Federation of Agricultural
Producers (IFAP), was the keynote speak-
tion – Current and
Likely Future Trends.
Written by Helen
er at IFA’s 35th Enlarged Council Meeting Flynn and Pete Smith
in Amman, Jordan, on 15-19 November. of the University of
His presence marked the renewal of an Aberdeen, UK, this
important partnership between the fer- scientific review was
tilizer industry and farmers worldwide. prepared at the requestt of IFA as a con
Around the world, farmers need access tribution to the international negotia-
to quality inputs and the knowledge tions on climate change. It provides an
to use these products appropriately. potential yield impact of currently low up-to-date state of scientific knowledge
The fertilizer industry has a role to play application rates for phosphorus and on greenhouse gas balances in relation
in producing quality products, and in potassium. Balanced fertilization needs to crop production and fertilizer use. The
working closely with farmers’ organiza- to be promoted to farmers around the report was written for policy makers, sci-
tions to make sure that good agricul- world, with particular emphasis also on entists and the fertilizer industry.
tural practices are applied in the field, the importance of micronutrients. A brief entitled The Role of Fertilizers in
particularly balanced fertilization for The demand forecasts are tentatively Agricultural Mitigation Strategies – How
optimum nutrient use efficiency and ag- predicting a rebound of 4.9 per cent, to to Improve Greenhouse Gas Budgets
ricultural productivity. 166 Mt of nutrients in 2010, in anticipa- Through Good Agricultural Practices
Addressing 90 delegates from 53 com- tion of a progressive recovery. Global (based on the review report’s Executive
panies and 31 countries, Ajay Vashee, fertilizer supply in 2009 was still affected Summary) was published in December for
a dairy farmer in Zambia, welcomed by the volatile conditions that prevailed the climate change conference in Copen-
the greater sense of collaboration and in 2008. In 2009, global nutrient produc- hagen.
noted the important contribution be- tion and sales dropped to very low levels Both publications are available from the
ing made by the Farming First coalition. due to the important inventory carry- Climate Change module of the IFA web
Such joint initiatives are timely: food overs in distribution systems worldwide. site:
security is still at the top of the inter- For the second consecutive year, total SUSTAINABILITY/Climate-change
national policy agenda, as shown by the world nutrient production in 2009 ap-
series of Food and Agriculture Organiza- peared to exceed sales and consump- Recommended best practice
tion meetings that took place in October tion, translating into a significant build- for the analysis of potassium
and November (see article on page 8). up of inventories at producers’ end. This content in potassium chloride
In Jordan, IFA’s Secretariat also pre- weakness in demand impacted global (KCl) fertilizers
sented its Short-Term Fertilizer Outlook nutrient production and industry’s oper- The IFA Expert Working Group on the
2009-2010. The data collected by the ating rates, but with different intensities Harmonization of Fertilizer Sampling
Agriculture and Production and Inter- according to the nutrient concerned. and Quality Analysis
national Trade Services highlight the IFA’s forecasts, however, predict that the Methods evaluated
dramatic impact high commodity and situation in 2010 would see a major re- analytical methods
input prices have had on fertilizer ap- versal, with a significant growth in glob- used globally for the
plications. The Association is concerned al demand and a strong 7 per cent re- quality testing of po-
about the current predominance of ni- bound of total sales of the mainstream tassium content in
trogen in fertilization practices, and the products. potassium chloride
(KCl) fertilizers. The
global peer review
More information
process indicates
 Proceedings of IFA’s 35th Enlarged Council Meeting:
that the tetraphenylboron method, in its
two variations (gravimetric and titrimet-
ric), is the preferred analysis methodol-
 IFA’s Fertilizer Outlook reports:
ogy for international potash shipments.
The publication is available at:
10 fertilizers & agriculture

IFA events

Asia-Pacific industry
meets in Borneo
The 2009 IFA Crossroads Asia-Pacific ter and fertilizer use efficiency. Some 30
Conference took place from 8 to 10 De- people participated in the half-day ag-
cember in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, on the ronomic workshop, during which they
Malaysian side of Borneo. exchanged information and views on
The prospects for market recovery in site-specific nutrient management prac-
2010 stimulated good participation. tices and how best to disseminate them,
There were 259 participants from 32 with the support of the regional fertil-
countries, representing 135 companies izer industry. The panel discussion at the
and five international organizations. end of the conference was the occasion
The keynote address was delivered by to discuss the benefits of, and require-
Sumiter Broca of the FAO Regional Of- ments for, developing strong national ference, but all were available online a
fice in Bangkok. His message focused fertilizer industry associations. few days later. This environment-friend-
on the impact of the global economic 42 delegates participated in the Kim Gai ly model will be progressively applied to
crisis on agriculture and food security Soh Memorial Golf Tournament, which the other IFA events.
in Asia. Other topics addressed during was won by Mike Erwin of Minemakers The presentations can be downloaded
the conference included prospects for Ltd in Australia. at:
the fertilizer market in Malaysia, China The Kota Kinabalu conference was the LIBRARY/Conference-proceedings/Cross-
and India; the outlook for the potash first “paper-free” IFA event. No copies of roads-Asia-Pacific-Conferences/2009-
market; and options for improving wa- the papers were distributed at the con- Crossroads-Asia-Pacific

IFA Moscow Conference

Industry analysts meet in Russia to better Two papers on the supply and demand
trends of seaborne ammonia and UAN
understand the constraints on fertilizer use in highlighted the positive prospects for
the CIS and to benefit from highlights on market the trade of these products in the near
term. The PIT programme ended with
trends and key supply issues. two papers on short-term market trends
in China and India, respectively.
The final two days of the conference

A total of 184 participants from

29 countries met in Moscow on 6-9
October for the IFA Moscow 2009 Fertil-
future supply of fertilizers and sulphur
in Russia and Kazakhstan were also
addressed. A paper on world freight
covered a wide range of issues relating
to constraints on fertilizer use in the CIS
countries in general, and particularly in
izers and Agriculture Conference. This shipping conditions covered fertilizer Russia. The programme during these two
event was jointly organized by the IFA seaborne trade and highlighted the days involved 15 speakers and 12 panel-
Production and International Trade (PIT) looming vessel tonnage additions in the ists, who addressed market, distribution,
and Agriculture Committees. The partic- short term. policy and agronomic issues. The pre-
ipants represented 93 companies and six The various climate change regulations sentations generated lively and fruitful
international organizations. in key markets were presented by TFI; discussions.
The first day was devoted to topics re- they showed the wide range of indus- IFA would like to thank BPC, Eurochem,
lated to the supply and trade of fertil- try’s reactions to emerging cap and trade IPC and Uralchem for kindly supporting
izer products, market trends, and major legislation as regards the nitrogen fertil- this event.
issues impacting fertilizer production, izer sector. The World Bank’s investment All the presentations made in Moscow
capacity and logistics. The programme support programme, presented by the are available in both Russian and English
comprised 12 papers. Topics on new ca- International Finance Corporation (IFC), on the IFA web site:
pacity included an update on short- to provided information on the scope and ifa/Home-Page/LIBRARY/Conference-
medium-term potash projects in Russia, level of assistance that could be offered proceedings/PIT-Conferences/2009-IFA-
Brazil and Argentina. The current and to the fertilizer sector. Moscow
February 2010 11

Enhanced-efficiency fertilizers
IFA and New Ag International co-organize the second
international industry gathering on enhanced-efficiency fertilizers
The market for enhanced-efficien- cated to these fertilizers. Five
cy fertilizers (EEFs) is developing at years later, it is time to update
a sustained pace. EEFs encompass our knowledge in the fields
slow- and controlled-release fer- of research and development,
tilizers and those stabilized with agronomic and environmental
urease or nitrification inhibitors. benefits, the economics of EEF
Traditionally, these products have use, the policy and regulatory
been applied mainly to specialty framework, and the current
crops. However, the market share market and outlook. There-
of slow- and controlled-release fer- fore, IFA and New Ag Interna-
tilizers is increasing in the broad- tional agreed to join forces and
acre crop sector (rice in Japan and, co-organize a one and a half
more recently, corn in the United day EEFs conference on 23-24
States and rice in China). How is the EEF market expected to March 2010 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Miami,
evolve in the medium- to long-term? And what will be the key Florida. It will be held in conjunction with the 8th New Ag
drivers of the EEF market? Product development, economics or International Conference.
policy environment? The conference programme will feature more than 20 presen-
In 2005, IFA organized an international workshop on EEFs. tations. The provisional programme is available online from
This was the first international industry event entirely dedi- the IFA and New Ag International web sites.

IFA events
IFA Technical Symposium* IFA Crossroads Asia-Pacific 2010
20-22 April 2010 8-10 November 2010
Sun City, South Africa Venue to be announced
Registration closes on 18 March Registration opens in July

36th IFA Enlarged Council Meeting*

2-4 December 2010
New Delhi, India
78th IFA Annual Conference* Registration opens in July
31 May - 2 June 2010
Paris, France Events organized in association
Held on the occasion of the IFA with other organizations
Annual General Meeting during
which the Association’s officers IFA/New Ag International Conference
convene, IFA’s main event attracts on Enhanced-Efficiency Fertilizer
on average 1300 participants representing 325 member com- 23-24 March 2010
panies from 75 countries. It has become a major meeting plat- Miami, Florida, USA
form for the global fertilizer industry and is on the agenda of Information and registration:
its chief executives and senior management representatives.
Registration closes on 27 April More conference information
To access general and registration information on these events
IFA Production and International Trade Conference* click on “Events” on IFA’s web site:
4-6 October 2010
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil A pocket-sized events brochure can also be downloaded.
Registration opens in mid-June
Restricted to IFA member companies
12 fertilizers & agriculture

Climate Change 2009: Hope in a Changing Climate Micronutrient Handbook
Science Compendium Stories of how ecosystem restoration H.L.S. Tandon. FDCO, New Delhi,
UNEP, Nairobi, Kenya, 2009. 68 pp. lifts people from poverty, stabilizes India, 2009.
This publications presents some of the our climate and supports sustainable
issues and ideas that have emerged agriculture. Nutrient Uptake, Removal and
since the close of research for consid- J.D. Liu. Environmental Education Recycling by Crops
eration by the IPCC Fourth Assessment Media Project, 2009. DVD H.L.S. Tandon and Y. Muralidharudu
Report over three years ago. Contact FDCO, New Delhi, India, early 2010.
Contact Contact,
Climate, Agriculture and Food
Climate Change: Impact on Security: A Strategy for Change
Agriculture and Costs of
G.C. Nelson, M.W. Rosegrant et al.,
Alliance of the CGIAR Centers, 2009.
45 pp.
On the Web
IFPRI, Food Policy Report, Washington, Good Agricultural Practices for
D.C., USA, October 2009. 19 pp. Irrigated and Rainfed Rice
This cereal knowledge databank has
MillionsFed: Proven Successes in been developed by IRRI and contains
Agricultural Development extensive information on efficient
D.J. Spielman and R. Pandya-Lorch. and effective farming practices. The
IFPRI, 2020 Vision, Washington, D.C., web site provides practical solutions
USA, 2009. 165 pp. from extension agents and agricultural
Contact development workers to help irrigated rice farmers boost yields, and improve grain quality and production efficiency.
It also aims to help farmers reduce pes-
ticide, fertilizer and water use.

International Fertilizer Industry Association

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