international fertilizer correspondent
IPI serves the
News from the
Africa dominates our front page but, on the inside pages of this edition of ifc, you will find news of developments in central, southern and eastern Asia, the Americas and Europe.
Africa is still experiencing rapid population growth, with some estimates suggesting that it will double within twenty years. Food production, although increasing, is not keeping up and the current high percentage of hungry and malnourished people, especially children, is unlikely to decrease substantially unless great improvements are made to agricultural productivity. At the heart of this problem lies heavy soil nutrient mining. Africa, of course, is not alone with this problem. Fertilizer use will probably become more widespread in future but there is still a very long way to go if Africa is to get close to food security.
Throughout the world, the need to promote the basic concept of balanced fertilization continues. Agricultural production is fundamental to human survival, and fundamental to agricultural production is soil fertility. Biotechnology may help us to design crop varieties better able to withstand attack from pests and diseases but this effort is of no value to farmers if plant growth is restricted or weakened through poor fertilization. Potash is the nutrient that supplies strength and quality and no plant, neither humble nor sophisticated, can survive without it.