The global fertilizer industry has launched a new online campaign called “Roots for Growth,” highlighting the important role that fertilizers play in addressing global food security responsibly, efficiently and sustainably.

As Group of Eight (G8) leaders prepare to meet in Camp David on May 18 and 19, the topics of agriculture and nutrition security are expected to feature high on their agenda. Back in 2009, G8 leaders pledged to spend US $22 billion on agriculture and rural development at the L’Aquila G8 summit. With funding due to expire this year, there is an urgent need for leaders to agree a new and improved commitment.

The campaign includes an array of new online materials, aimed at informing policy debates and encouraging dialogue. These include:

  • Introductory “Roots for Growth” video
  • Interactive infographics on food/nutrition security, soil health, environmental stewardship and sustainable agriculture
  • Links to key industry news, external policy papers, multimedia and key industry spokespeople 

The “Roots for Growth” campaign website and materials are available at: http://www.rootsforgrowth.org/. Ford West, president of The Fertilizer Institute says, “This campaign aims to raise awareness and dialogue around fertilizer’s role in supporting global food security and sustainable agricultural production.” Jacob Hansen, director general of Fertilizers Europe says, “Fertilizers are essential in boosting crop productivity and maintaining soil fertility whilst also improving rural livelihoods, protecting natural habitats and making agriculture more carbon-efficient.”

Roger Larson, president of the Canadian Fertilizer Institute says, “G8 leaders are right to prioritise food and nutrition security, but they must focus more energy on enabling farmers in every corner of the world to share in the benefits of modern, intensive agriculture. Farmers must be at the centre of these discussions if we are to meet the world’s most pressing sustainable development challenges.”

For example, in sub-Saharan Africa, smallholder farmers face a variety of constraints in their ability to increase productivity. These include increasingly degraded soils (75 percent of which is already classified as such), low crop productivity (yields are less than 10 percent of global averages) and lack of access to input and output markets. According to the World Bank, sub-Saharan Africa represents 10 percent of the world’s population but only uses 0.8 percent of the world’s fertilizer. David Roquetti Filho, executive director of ANDA says, “Many poor farmers are left with little choice to prevent further soil nutrient depletion, as they lack sufficient access to inputs such as fertilizers. To combat this we need continued commitments to improve farmers’ ability to support their own livelihoods, as well as feed a growing population.”

As the “Roots for Growth” campaign highlights, food grown with fertilizers is already nourishing billions of people and helping to improve their diets every year, but there is still more work to do. Luc Maene, director general of the International Fertilizer Industry Association says, “Moving forwards, the fertilizer industry wants to partner even more with farmers, environmental leaders, agronomists, scientists, and governments to share knowledge, develop further innovations and improve farmers’ access to markets, both locally and globally.”

A global initiative, “Roots for Growth” is led by a coalition of the world’s leading fertilizer associations, namely the Brazilian industry association (called Associação Nacional para Difusão de Adubos, or ANDA), Canadian Fertilizer Institute (CFI), Fertilizers Europe, International Fertilizer Industry Association (IFA), and The Fertilizer Institute (TFI).