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Home>FFTC Document Database>Annual Reports>FFTC 2018 ANNUAL REPORT>Project 7: Smart use of fertilizers for environmentally friendly agriculture

Collection of information & technologies
Seminars and workshops

Project 7: Smart use of fertilizers for environmentally friendly agriculture

Location: Changhua, Taiwan
Date: October 30 - November 1
Participating countries: 8 (India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam)
Papers presented: 18
Co-organizers: Taichung District Agricultural Research and Extension Station (TDARES)

In the old days, soil fertilization was a simple chore. A farmer gets a chunk of fertilizer in a bag, spreads it into the soil and his work is done. Today, with the increasing pressure on global food systems, the stark realities of climate change and other ecological challenges, the development and use of smart fertilizers hold one of the keys to successful farming. 

Defined by experts as “a system management designed to achieve higher yields by optimizing fertilization mixes and techniques while minimizing costs and protecting the environment,” smart fertilization also includes the development of fertilizers with controlled nutrient release, together with bio formulations based on bacteria and enzymes.

FFTC, together with the Taichung District Agricultural Research and Extension Station (TDARES), recently gathered 18 speakers from eight countries (India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam) and held a workshop on “Smart Use of Fertilizers for Environmentally Friendly Agriculture.” Held at the TDARES headquarters in Changhua, Taiwan, the workshop aims to exchange knowledge and experiences on smart fertilization technologies among countries, consolidate information and skills on the promotion of environmentally friendly fertilizer use and disseminate this to the public and strengthen international cooperation among regional institutions and experts.

The first day of the workshop comprised of three presentation sessions consisting of nine papers, ranging from smart management of soil and fertilizers, development of fertilization and fertilizer production in the Asian Pacific region, to fruit and vegetable fertilization technologies. The following day, there were three more presentation sessions consisting of nine papers, ranging from the production and smart use of high quality vermicompost, development and application of controlled release fertilizer, appropriate biochar technology, use of biofertilizers and biopesticides, relationship between composting and reducing greenhouse gas emission, location specific fertilizer management, decision support tools, measure for smart fertilizer use, soil testing and growth responding fertilization. The third day was devoted to exposure and educational trip at dragon fruit farm, guava farm, and Tenway garden in Changhua County where the speakers observed and interacted with officers and leaders of farmers’ associations.

Going organic and focusing on environmentally friendly fertilization seem to be the common thread in the post presentation and question-and-answer portion of the workshop. In Korea, for example, it was reported that the government gives subsidy to encourage and promote farmers to use organic fertilizers. The speaker from the Philippines, on the other hand, reported the increasing popularity of biofertilizers, although to uniformly manage the quality control, producers of biofertilizers have to register their products before they are released in the market.

Water quality is becoming a problem in Vietnam, especially for farmers who are operating a fertigation system. Since most of the phosphate and NPK products are not water soluble, plugging the pipes in fertigation is becoming a big problem in the country.

Meanwhile, soil experts who participated in the discussion are suggesting setting up a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for farmers to have a guideline for fertilizer recommendation. For this to succeed, researchers need to work closely with farmers in order to better understand and disseminate experimental results.

Major findings and recommendations

1. Encourage the development and promotion of smart products and diagnostic or decision support tools for smart fertilization;
2. Disseminate information on the benefits and use of control release fertilizers, biofertilizers and nano-fertilizers to the farmers;
3. Conduct more studies on modification of carbon storage and increased utilization of manure;
4. Create modules and programs on soil management and smart fertilization to enhance and develop the skills of extension workers; and
5. Invite farmers and private sector members to collaborate with researchers and policymakers, and encourage their participation in policy decision making on soil management.

List of papers

1. Smart management of soils and fertilizers - Kazayuki Inubushi 
2. Rationale nitrogen fertilization in paddy rice - the Taiwan experience - Chi-fang Chiang 
3. Moving forward: modern soil fertilization techniques for sustainable soil  agriculture in the Philippines - Pearl Basilio Sanchez 
4. Smart use of fertilizers for increased crop production, environmental sustainability in Korea - Cho-Rong Lee 
5. Malaysia’s experience in fertilizer subsidy scheme (SBPKP, SIPP and SBRPB) for paddy cultivation since 1979 - Nor Fadila Binti ABD. Halim 
6. Fertilizer production and utilization in Vietnam - Chong Quang Nguyen 
7. Effect of soluble NPK in productivity in some cash crops in Vietnam - Phuong Duy Nguyen 
8. The appropriate fertilization of wax apple and sod culture in the orchard - Yong-Hong Lin 
9. Fertilization of grapes in Taiwan - Ya-Wen Kuo 
10. The production and smart use of vermicompost with high quality - Jen Hshuan Chen 
11. Development and application of controlled release fertilizers - Szu-Ying Tung 
12. Appropriate fertilizer management for sweet corn production - Pancheewan Ponpha-nga 
13. Use of biofertilizers and biopesticides to promote plant growth and nutrient uptake - Cheng Hua Huang 
14. Beneficial effect of composting and compost utilization in increasing soil carbon stock and reducing greenhouse gas emission in whole rice cropping system - Pil Joo Kim 
15. Location specific fertilizer management for rice using soil test target yield approach in Malaysia - Theeba Manikham 
16. Nutrient management decision support tool for rainfed rice: on-farm testing in the southern fringes of India - Sheetal Sharma 
17. Characterization of Japanese bacillus biofertilizer “kikuchi” for paddy rice - Tadashi Yokoyama 
18. Measures for smart fertilizer use in Korea’s standard, soil testing and growth-responding fertilization - Jwa Kyung Sung 

Speakers and participants of the FFTC-TDARES International Workshop on the “Smart Use of Fertilizers for Environmentally Friendly Agriculture” gather at the Taichung District Agricultural Research and Extension Station, Changhua County, Taiwan. There are 18 speakers from eight countries (India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam) who talk about the promotion of environmentally friendly fertilizer use and their corresponding smart technologies.

FFTC Director Dr. Kuo-Ching Lin (left) and FFTC Deputy Director Dr. Akira Hasebe talk to Dr. Kazuyuki Inubushi, soil scientist and Professor at Chiba University in Japan. Dr. Inubushi is the keynote speaker who delivered a lecture on “Smart Management of Soils and Fertilizers.”

The workshop participants visit the Erlin Pitaya Farm in Changhua County. A two-hectare farm planted to pitaya or dragon fruit owned by Mr. Zhuang, an outstanding pitaya farmer who has been producing and marketing the fruit for 20 years. He has been employing Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) in his orchard, setting automatic sprinkler irrigation system and combining the application of liquid fertilizers in his farm operations.