international fertilizer correspondent
Feed the soil to feed the people,
the IPI jubilee
"Feed the soil to feed the people". The theme of the IPI Jubilee Congress could not have been more appropriate. Every day, in our newspapers and on television, we see that there are still more than 700 million food insecure people worldwide including 170 million malnourished children. And yet, while this tremendous need exists, world cereal production is stagnating or even, when compared to last year, in decline.
Of course, we can put the blame for declining cereal output on weather anomalies such as droughts in North America, Australia, parts of Africa and India, or floods in SE China and parts of Europe. But did the crops receive the appropriate fertilization to enable them to resist drought better? Did the farmer have sufficient earnings from previous harvests to buy fertilizers? Did he know how to use them? Bearing in mind the economic and social environment in which he has to work, is the food he produces cheap enough to be affordable to the poor?
The Golden Jubilee Congress took a closer look at some of these questions. Twenty four speakers and some 100 poster authors explored the policy and social issues related to food supply and sustainable production. They looked into the economics and the constraints, and at how best to apply nutrients, potash included, for sustainable agriculture. This issue of ifc includes information about the contributions made on the different subjects. The full presentations, the panel discussions and the posters will be published in two volumes, later this year.