IPI International Potash Institute
IPI International Potash Institute

Editorial: e-ifc No. 16, June 2008


Dear Readers,

Prof. Zheng Sheng Xian, Institute of Soil and Fertilizer of Academy of Agricultural Sciences in Changsha.
Partners of the new project in Africa met in Mozambique to launch the project. Representatives from (left to right) IFDC, IPNI, IPI and IFA visit an IFDC IIAM demo plot and discuss with the local farmer. Photo by IPI.

For many years we have faced a decline in funding for agricultural research and extension. Food scarcity and the high food prices highlight the need to reverse this trend and reinvest in both science and its delivery. While gaps in agricultural science between countries do exist, for many millions of farmers in developing countries the lack of professional advice seriously impairs their ability to produce efficiently. Farmers need advice! Now is the time to re-invest in extension in developing countries, and our role at IPI is to increase our contribution in this important area.

Fertilizer use in Africa is extremely low. Consequently, so are yields. IPI, in collaboration with the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC), the International Fertilizer Association (IFA), and the International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI), has recently launched a project in the Beira Corridor of Mozambique, with the aim of intensifying maize production in the region. Our vision is to enable farmers and the related input and output markets in this region, to realize the benefits maize can provide. This is the first project for IPI in sub-Saharan Africa - and we are very proud to be part of it. We will report on project progress in a future issue of e-ifc.

In this issue of e-ifc, you will find a report from Central Europe on results from long-term field experiments, describing yields and potassium status in soil. The results from 33 sites in six countries demonstrate that omission of K fertilizer has severe consequences. Lessons from such experiments are essential in assessing the sustainability of agricultural production systems in other regions. You can also review research work conducted in India on the effect of potassium on reduction of Cd uptake and oxidative burst in mustard plants. And, under the title "Potassium improves grain filling - a short story in pictures and figures from India, Indonesia and China" we present data describing this phenomena. We hope that this valuable information will be of assistance to field and extension workers in identifying the correct crop responses to K fertilizers.

I wish you all an enjoyable read.

Hillel Magen

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