IFDC: Improving the use of fertilizers in Third World countries
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CTA. 1987. IFDC: Improving the use of fertilizers in Third World countries. Spore 11. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/44729
The use of fertilizers in many Third World countries has increased greatly during the last decade. About 40% of the world's nitrogen fertilizer and 30% of its phosphate fertilizer now go to tropical or sub-tropical regions. But not all fertilizers...
The use of fertilizers in many Third World countries has increased greatly during the last decade. About 40% of the world's nitrogen fertilizer and 30% of its phosphate fertilizer now go to tropical or sub-tropical regions. But not all fertilizers are useful in all soils and those produced for temperate climates will not always have the right effect on tropical crops. It was for this reason that the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) was established in 1974. IFDC focusses on the development of appropriate technology and related knowledge to increase food production in developing countries, especially those in the tropics and subtropics. The Center is a non-profit, international organization that has done considerable research on nitrogen, phosphate, sulphur and potassium fertilizers as well as on fertilizer economy, training, technical assistance and information services. It maintains that the solution to Third World problems lies with the people themselves and therefore concentrates on helping them to find such solutions. There are currently over 125 people, from 20 different countries, employed at the IFDC headquarters. The staff is also technically diverse with almost half of its number being chemical engineers, chemists, agronomists, geologists, soil scientists and sociologists. An African branch of IFDC has just been established in Lome, Togo to help develop appropriate technologies that can increase food production on this continent The headquarters is located near the U.S. National Fertilizer Development Center on the Tennesse Valley Authority Reservation in Alabama. IFDC not only profits from the 50 years experience of its neighbour but also its laboratories greenhouses and library. The latter has the most comprehensive collection on fertilizers in the USA, including over 35,000 books and 1,100 technical periodicals. IFDC is organized into three divisions, each with its specific responsibilities: - the Fertilizer Technology Division to develop new products and processes to solve immediate and long-term problems of the fertilizer sector; - the Agro-Economic Division to develop agronomic practices that will increase the efficiency of fertilizer use, in addition to identifying farmers' needs and constraints, and - the Outreach Division for the dissemination of training information, technology transfer and market development assistance, etc. Information generation at IFDC and elsewhere is used by outreach personnel to respond to assistance requests from organizations in developing countries. Staff members are made available to provide on-site assistance in the Third World for periods of up to several months. Some requests for technical information can be handled by telex or telephone whilst the less urgent are sent by mail. This information and assistance may include, for example, helping to improve the production capacity of a specific fertilizer plant or assisting in pricing policy. Recipients of this assistance and information include national agencies, fertilizer companies, governments, corporations and development organizations. Such services are provided on a cost reimbursement basis (letters of inquiry should be addressed to the Managing Director). In order to improve its advisory service, IFDC has developed a database containing soil climatological data related to crops, fertilizers and regions permitting rapid answers to requests such as 'What fertilizers should we use for crop X in region Y with climate Z?' For investments, decision-making and policy development, it is very important to have access to such a reliable database. For more details, contact: I FDC P.O. Box 2040 Muscle Shoals Alabama 35662 USA