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Climate-smart agriculture: What role for fertilizers?

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Charlotte Hebebrand

COP22 Session - November 13th, Marrakech

African Soil Management: Adaptation of African Agriculture – Sustainable and Resilient Soil Management

Published in: Environment
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Climate-smart agriculture: What role for fertilizers?

  1. 1. Climate- smart agriculture: What role for fertilizers? From Abuja to Marrakesh Charlotte Hebebrand - Director General The International Fertilizer Association « From Science to Action » Break-out session Sustainable and Resilient Soil Management 13 November 2016, Marrakesh
  2. 2. The State of African Soils • Deteriorating Soil Fertility • Nutrient removal > (all) Nutrient Inputs = Nutrient Mining Resulting in Low Yields, Poverty and Environmental Degradation Source: IPNI, 2016 • 75% of the arable land in SSA is degraded (IPNI, 2016)
  3. 3. 2006:The Abuja Fertilizer Summit • 53 African Agriculture Ministers sign the Abuja Declaration to accelerate the access of farmers to fertilizers and increase the average use per hectare from 8kg/ha to 50 kg/ha by 2015 “To feed our people, we must first feed the soil. This is the hour for Africa, let’s take this bold step together and expand food security and incomes across Africa ” H.E. Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of Nigeria, 2006, Abuja. Source: IPNI, 2016
  4. 4. 2015: The Paris Agreement & INDCs • Inclusion of food security in Paris Agreement text • Countries submit INDCs ahead of COP21 & signing of the Paris agreement: all African countries place strong focus on adaptation and agriculture  In several African INDCs, fertilizers feature prominently with regard to climate change mitigation. Are environmental ministries coordinating with agricultural ministries? “Agriculture: Gradual replacement of 100% of mineral fertilizers with organic fertilizers by 2030” “Reduce the use of nitrogen in agriculture by 2030” “Programme objectives (…) reduced GHG emissions due to reduced fertilizer use and less turning of the soil”
  5. 5. 2016: COP 22 and the AAA initiative • Morocco places food security at the heart of the COP22 – objective is to transform African agriculture • Strong Focus on Climate-Smart Agricultural Practices to: – Sustainably increase productivity; – Enhance resilience & reduce GHGs where possible; – Enhance achievement of global food security
  6. 6. CSA: Global Food Security GLOBAL FOOD SECURITY DEPENDS ON FERTILIZERS • Fertilizers contribute to 50% of today’s food production, & demand will increase over time • Goals of eliminating hunger and poverty must be the priority for Africa • SSA needs to triple grain production by 2050 • Average fertilizer use today around16 kg/ha Evolution of SSA’s average fertilizer application rate (kg nutrients/ha)- Source:IFA
  7. 7. CSA: Adaptation FERTILIZERS ARE CRUCIAL FOR ADAPTATION • Proper Plant Nutrition builds resilience in crops – Micronutrients (Zn, Ca) help plants with water stress – Phosphoric fertilizers help plants grow strong roots. • Correct Fertilizer Use Enhances Water Use Efficiency (and vice versa); • Most adaptation options build on existing Best Management Practices rather than on access to new technologies.
  8. 8. CSA: Reduce GHGs Where Possible N2O EMISSIONS FROM FERTILIZER APPLICATION ARE NOT THE PRIMARY PROBLEM IN AFRICA TODAY In much of SSA, substantial increases in N inputs would greatly increase crop yields with little immediate risk of significant N2O emissions • Fertilizer demand (2014) of 3.4 m nutrient tons = 1.9% of global demand (IFA) • BUT few would suggest continent-wide recommendation of 100kg/ha • Could SSA leapfrog the usual Nutrient Use Efficiency?
  9. 9. Fertilizer Best Management Practices • Site- Specific Nutrient Management (SSNM) = efficient way to reduce GHGs from fertilizer application and ensure farmer profitability • Importance of Integrated Soil Fertility Management: to integrate organic and mineral nutrient sources • Flexible approaches can help farmers more than blanket fertilizer recommendations! • The 4Rs: Applying the right nutrient source; at the right rate, at the right time and in the right place. • Enhanced Efficiency Fertilizers
  10. 10. Another Look at Reducing GHGs • Higher yields on arable land can protect forests (deforestation = 10- 11% global GHG emissions) – Importance of Life Cycle Analysis • Soils can store up to 50- 300 tonnes of carbon/ha, or 180-1100 tonnes of CO2. • 89% agriculture’s mitigation potential based on soil carbon sequestration (IPCC) • Fertilizers help create biomass that helps create Soil Organic Matter- which improves soil health &
  11. 11. From INDCs to NDCs • Maintain focus on higher crop yields – no immediate risk of high GHG emissions from increased fertilizer use • Seek to combine higher yields with optimal Nitrogen Use Efficiency (NUE) to avoid N losses • Opportunity to leap-frog over usual evolution of agricultural management (higher yields, declining NUE) with improved practices & supportive policies = high yields + optimal NUE
  12. 12. Policy options for Africa • Build capacity in adaptive nutrient management: support of local practices and 4Rs • Support balanced nutrient inputs: ISFM, macronutrients (N,P,K,S) and micronutrients • Strengthened & equitable access to fertilizers • Emphasis on social equity – women should be included in decision- making and have improved access to fertilizers • Monitor GHG emissions intensity
  13. 13. Useful information CCFAS policy brief: Fertilizers and low emission development in sub-Saharan Africa – Meryl Richards- CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security, Gund Institute, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT, U.S.A. – Martin Van Ittersum-Wageningen University – Tekalign Mamo- ATA Agricultural Transformation Agency, Ethiopia, – Clare Stirling- Global Conservation Agriculture Program, CIMMYT (International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre) , – Bernard Vanlauwe- International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) – Robert Zougmoré- International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT)
  14. 14. Useful Information The Nutrient Management Handbook • By WFO, GACSA and IFA • For farmers, practitioners, Policy-makers… anyone interested in nutrient management! • User-friendly guidebook: straightforward explanation of FBMPs, soil health, sustainability! • Available for download on IFA’s website:
  15. 15. Thank you! Find out more about IFA by visiting our website: www.fertilizer.org Or by writing to us: ifa@fertilizer.org We are also on social media: @FertilizerNews International Fertilizer Association International Fertilizer Association IFAfertilizers

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