The efficiency of nitrogen-based fertilizers used in developing countries is only about 33 percent. Two-thirds of nitrogen applied as fertilizer often is unused by crops and becomes an environmental pollutant, either in the form of potent greenhouse gas or runoff that fouls streams and lakes. The unused fertilizer also reduces farmers’ profits.
Low nitrogen efficiency stems from both outdated fertilizer products and inappropriate application methods. IFDC has focused its research on the management of applied fertilizers and development of new products that are more efficient. For example, it has introduced fertilizer deep placement (FDP), a technology that increases crop yields (and thus incomes), lessens pollution and uses less fertilizer per hectare.
IFDC is working to develop the next generation of fertilizer products and production technologies through the Virtual Fertilizer Research Center. The Center will partner with universities, public and private research laboratories and the global fertilizer and agribusiness industries to bring together the best scientific, business and government minds to create a research system producing more food with fewer wasted resources and a reduced environmental impact.