Stories tagged: IFA

Argus FMB Africa Fertilizer Conference

15-17 February 2017

Cape Town, South Africa

The 8th annual Argus FMB Africa Fertilizer conference will feature more than 450 participants from 55 countries. A cross-section of stakeholders including government leaders, finance providers, NGOs, regional distributors and global producers with gather at the event, organised with the support of the International Fertilizer Association (IFA), IFDC, and AFAP. Read more >>

IFA Vice-President Mr. Abdulrahman Jawahery on the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals

This blog post was written by Mr. Abdulrahman A. Hussain Jawahery President of the Gulf Petrochemical Industries Co (GPIC) and Vice-President for Sustainable Development for the International Fertilizer Industry Association (IFA).

In the aftermath of Rio+20, and bearing the legacy of the Millennium Development Goals, the Sustainable Development Goals aim to generate a multidimensional approach for our global future. This new set of goals has the challenging mission to guide policy-makers, private industry, NGOs, national and regional governments in the measures they devise in the upcoming years; measures that are aimed at bringing about a healthier world, one in which wealth and resources are equitably distributed both between countries and within them, while environmental security and biodiversity are safeguarded.

Public engagement is unprecedented. The response to calls for submitting proposals, providing research and voicing concerns has been immense, aided by social media and modern communication platforms. All this commotion is an encouraging sign. A testament to the collective efforts which everyone – big and small, rich and poor – is making towards an overarching goal: a better and more sustainable future.

I believe that the new goals ought to be aspirational, ambitious, yet realistic. They should inspire all actors to find innovative ways of leading to their accomplishment, while allowing for the achievement of intermediary goals, which constitute check points along the steps to the top of the pyramid. Bearing this in mind, the Farming First coalition is working actively to make sure that agriculture remains at the top of the agenda and proposes two goals relating to agriculture and food security.

The first one is to eradicate hunger and malnutrition by 2025, because it can be done in our lifetime and because the realisation of this goal would have immense repercussions on most other goals aiming at overall economic development. Farmers and rural dwellers tend to make up the poorest fringes of the population worldwide, while at the same time producing the food we eat. By bringing farmers out of poverty we can achieve goals relating to gender equality, education, health, economic opportunities. The Farming First coalition and the fertilizer industry support the Zero Hunger Challenge, which advocates access to food all year round, eliminating stunted growth in children through improving the nutrient quality of food, sustainability across all food systems, increase in smallholder productivity and income and zero food waste or loss.

The second goal we propose is the adoption of sustainable agricultural practices, to plan for the agriculture of the future by raising agricultural productivity while protecting the environment. Countries and farmers will transition to more sustainable practices if their specific circumstances and needs are considered by policy-makers. Special attention should be given to women and to indigenous groups. The Farming First coalition and the fertilizer industry support the concept of sustainable intensification: producing more food per unit of land, while preserving or even enhancing soil quality, using less water and adopting integrated measures to reduce crop deterioration. The solutions will differ by region and by landscape to address the diversity of agricultural systems, farming practices and technologies, as well as benchmarks for balanced diets. In this context, such a transition to sustainable intensification cannot happen if we do not close the efficiency gap between farmers in the developing and the developed countries. Access to quality inputs and the knowledge to use them are essential to close this gap.

Gulf Petrochemicals Industries Co. employees are trained to provide them with skills, competencies and empowerment for their continuous improvement in health, safety and environmental best practices.

Gulf Petrochemicals Industries Co. employees are trained to provide them with skills, competencies and empowerment for their continuous improvement in health, safety and environmental best practices.

As a private sector representative, I can confidently state that returns on investment in sustainability are high and readily quantifiable. They translate into better resource allocation, a lower incidence of accidents and greater overall performance. My company, Gulf Petrochemicals Industries Co. (GPIC) has invested in its employees, its surrounding communities and its natural environment. Ever since becoming President of the company, I have been advocating tirelessly for the adoption of a culture of safety, health and environmental awareness. This is sustained by training our employees and providing them with skills, competencies and empowerment to continuously improve, as they are the key to the success in implanting HSE best practices. As a result, our production site now hosts; a fish farm where 100,000 sea bream fish are released into the deep sea annually to enrich marine life, a bird sanctuary which hosts over 30,000 birds with a record of 78 different species, and a number of gardens specifically made to plant rare indigenous, aromatic and desert plants to form a case study for educating school students on environmental natural presentation.

On-site gardens at Gulf Petrochemicals Industries Co., hosting rare indigenous, aromatic and desert plants to form a case study for educating school students on environmental natural presentation.

On-site fish farm at Gulf Petrochemicals Industries Co., hosting 100,000 sea bream fish that are released into the deep sea annually to enrich marine life.

On-site fish farm at Gulf Petrochemicals Industries Co., hosting 100,000 sea bream fish that are released into the deep sea annually to enrich marine life.

On-site bird sanctuary at Gulf Petrochemicals Industries Co., hosting over 30,000 birds with a record of 78 different species.

On-site bird sanctuary at Gulf Petrochemicals Industries Co., hosting over 30,000 birds with a record of 78 different species.

We have worked extensively with UNEP to demonstrate that industrial development can be carried out in a manner that is respectful to both communities and the environment. In our commitment to mitigate climate change risks, we commissioned the first carbon dioxide recovery plant in the Middle East, in 2010. Our efforts at GPIC have not gone unnoticed. GPIC’s pioneer sustainable development program received recognition from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) UK, which awarded us the Sir George Earl Trophy. We are also one of only two organizations in the Arabian Gulf region to receive the accolade of the Robert Campbell Award from the US National Safety Council, for achievement in EHS. This not only honors us, it also motivates us to continue to strive to surpass our targets in sustainable development.

Both my professional experience and my personal commitment to sustainable development have strengthened my conviction that private sector involvement is imperative to improving the status quo. Therefore, in the words of UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon, I urge all leaders in the corporate world “to deliver value not just financially – but also in social, environmental and ethical terms.”

Let’s not be limited by challenges and difficulties, but be motivated by possibilities!

About the author:

Mr. Abdulrahman A. Hussain JAWAHERY is a Farming First spokesperson. He is President of the Gulf Petrochemical Industries Co (GPIC) and Vice-President for Sustainable Development for the International Fertilizer Industry Association (IFA). Mr. Jawahery is actively involved in the post-2015 and SDG process on behalf of the fertilizer industry. His company, GPIC, is a Methanol, Ammonia and a Nitrogen Fertilizer manufacturer company based in Bahrain with an annual production of 1.5 million tons of Petrochemical and Fertilizer products to supply the world’s farmers. Mr. Jawahery is a Chartered Chemical Engineer with a BSc and an MSc from the UK. An acclaimed environmental champion, he holds numerous positions within renowned scientific and environmental organizations throughout the UK, US and Bahrain.

Reflections on the G8: Taking the Initiative on Commitments to Tackle Nutrition

Over the last few weeks, Farming First has been following G8 discussions, providing updates across our blog and Twitter feed.  The landmark “Hunger Summit” saw world leaders pledge $4bn to combat child malnutrition.

This pledge was one of – if not the – greatest achievements of this year’s G8 summit, whose legacy has been to firmly place tackling levels of malnutrition on the global political agenda. Whilst addressing hunger has long been the key focus of issues surrounding food security, tackling the “hidden hunger” of malnutrition has been increasingly recognised as central to the wider food security challenge.

The UN estimates that there are 870 million undernourished people in the world, meaning that one in eight people do not get enough food to lead a healthy and active lifestyle. Malnutrition causes stunting in children, affecting their physical and mental development.

On top of this, the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) recently discovered that poor nutrition correlates to a loss of up to 10% of GDP for developing economies in Asia and Africa. Evidently, malnutrition has a significant impact on the growth of developing countries both in terms of the health of the population and the ability for economies to expand.

Moving forward, it will be the role of people and organisations at all levels – from governments, NGOs, business and community leaders – to build on discussions around hunger and malnutrition at the G8 to overcome of the world’s most harrowing problems.

Farming First has been collecting the views from a range of organisations on the role that agriculture will play in addressing hunger and malnutrition. Marc Van Ameringen, Executive Director at Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) spoke to Farming First TV about the growing acknowledgment of nutrition in development discussions:

Finally people are starting to pay attention [to the issue of nutrition]…now we’re not just talking about food security, we’re talking about food and nutrition security. This shifts the discussion, where we’re not just talking about how do you grow more, and grow it sustainably, but how do you make sure it’s addressing some of the key nutritional challenges like hunger, micro-nutrient deficiency, stunting, as well as being over-weight and obesity.”

Agriculture has a key role to play in the fight against malnutrition and innovative solutions are already in action around the world to help find solutions. Last week, Farming First launched our unique “Food and Nutrition Security Interactive Map” which highlights the work of leading global and regional initiatives in action. All over the world, agriculture is already leading the way in facing this great challenge.

Farming First member IFA recently launched an infographic that illustrates how fertilising crops can improve human health. The infographic highlights that less than 20% of agricultural production growth by 2050 will come from land expansion and that 55-85% of soils are deficient in nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, demonstrating that fertilisers are essential for more food, better nutrition and healthier lives.

Biofortification is also an essential part of the solution to ending the worldwide devastation caused by malnutrition. Ensuring that staple crops are bred to increase their nutritional value not only provides the world with more nutritious food but it also eliminates the fortification process further along the supply chain, so that smallholders have access to safe and healthy food straight from the farm.

Returning farmers to the centre of decision-making will be imperative if we are to effectively build on this commitment and create effective collaborations. In building on these important steps in tackling food and nutrition security, Farming First urges policy makers to:

  1. promote a clear joint focus on a common goal for food security at the global level through policy and operational coherence
  2. encourage increased transparency on how much of pledged funding has been committed and to what types of programmes
  3. engage a wide range of stakeholders to ensure that efforts are coordinated, clear, collaborative and ultimately successful.

To read more about our work surrounding Food and Nutrition security, please click here


Filipino Farmers Given Fertilizer Advice Via Text Message

Rice farmers in the Philippines are being given advice on best fertilizer use through a new text message programme.

The scheme, thought to be a worldwide first, has been launched by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) where scientists have spent 18 years refining a computerized system to advise farmers on optimal fertilizer use via their cell phones.  Farmers in the most remote areas can receive fertilizer advice via text message. Launched in the Philippines, where more than 90 percent of the population owns a mobile phone, the technology holds great potential.

The computer tool, called Nutrient Manager for Rice, is based on the site-specific nutrient management (SSNM) approach developed by the IRRI which offers principles for nutrient best management practices. Studies on the SSNM principles have shown them to increase rice yield and profit, increase the efficiency of fertilizer use and reduce the leakage of nutrients to the environment.

Nutrient Manager for Rice is tailored to the rice-growing conditions of a country or region and is user-friendly for extension workers, crop advisors and farmers without any need for soil and plant analyses.

The user dials a toll-free number on their mobile phone, answers a list of 10 to 15 multiple-choice questions about their fields, and then they will receive a text message indicating the amounts, sources and timings of fertilizer application for that specific rice field. The service is automated and delivered in 4 languages that are used in the Philippines, including English.  A demonstration of the service is available on the internet (

Ninety percent of the world’s rice is produced and consumed in Asia. Fertilizers are an important input for producing sufficient supplies of rice to meet increasing demands.

In an interview with Voice of America, IRRI Senior Scientist Roland Buresh said that if the technology is used correctly farmers could yield $100 more per hectare.

IRRI are now working to develop the technology to the needs of rice farmers in South India, Vietnam and West Africa; maize in Bangladesh; and the rice-wheat cropping system in North India.

For more information on this programme, click here to go the IFA’s website.

Selenium Fortified Fertilizers in Finland

Selenium is an essential micronutrient to sustain human and animal health. However it is one of the most common micronutrient deficiencies in malnutrition. Low levels of selenium (Se) have been associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases and cancer in humans Selenium is mainly provided by plant foods (such as cereal), meat and dairy products. The content of selenium in food depends on the concentration of selenium in the soil where plants are grown or animals are raised.

In Finland, the soil is particularly poor in Selenium and in the past, the population in Finland has had high levels of selenium deficiency. In 1984, the Finnish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry decided to implement selenium supplementation through fertilizers to increase the very low concentration of selenium in the nation’s food chain. Since the 1970s, the National Public Health Institute has been monitoring the blood selenium levels of the Finnish adult population.

The effects of this policy have been monitored and the amount of selenium that is added to fertilizers has been adjusted twice on the basis of research results.  In 1990, the program was so successful in raising the amount of selenium in plants and, consequently, the human selenium status that the higher application was removed. Today, the amount of selenium added to fertilizers is 10 milligrams per kilogram.

Since the selenium supplementation of fertilizers, the selenium levels of Finnish foods have clearly risen, which has consequently enhanced the blood selenium levels of the population. As a result, the consumption of Selenium is adequate, and a satisfactory selenium status in children and adults is appreciated.

The Finnish experience of selenium fertilization is unique in the world and demonstrates the safety, effectiveness and cost-efficiency of this practice to raise Selenium levels in a population.  Such a policy could be replicated in other countries where micronutrient deficiencies in soil are targeted. For example, in New Zealand and some mountainous regions of China, the amounts of Selenium in soils have also been found to be scarce.

Micronutrient supplementation through fertilizers in Finland demonstrates the importance of fertilizers as an effective agricultural tool to improve the nutritional health of people in many parts of the world. 

Nominations Open for the IFA Norman Borlaug Award 2011

The IFA Norman Borlaug Award, in recognition of achievement in crop nutrition work, has been opened for nominations for the 2011 awards.

The award is offered every year by the International Fertilizer Industry Association (IFA) to an individual for work that has led to significant progress in crop nutrition and that has been communicated successfully to farmers.

The IFA Award alternates on a 4-year cycle, celebrating both research and knowledge transfer successes in both developed and developing countries.

This year’s prize will be awarded for research in developed countries and in international agricultural research and development centres. Any individual involved in crop or soil science is eligible to apply. The recipient of the IFA Norman Borlaug Award will receive 10,000 euros and will be invited as a guest to the IFA Annual Conference to be held form 23 to 25 May 2011 in Montreal, Canada.

The award is named after Dr Norman Borlaug who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for his contribution to fighting hunger around the world.

Please visit the IFA’s webpage for further details about the nomination procedure.