February 27, 2012, MUSCLE SHOALS, Alabama, United States – IFDC has released an educational video series, “The Primary Nutrients in Plant Growth,” that explores the roles of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and secondary and micronutrients in plant nutrition. The five-part series of four- to eight-minute videos is hosted by John Shields, interim director of IFDC’s Research and Development Division. The series raises awareness of the roles of these nutrients in plant nutrition and healthy growth, and the role of chemical fertilizers in delivering these vital nutrients to plants.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations estimates that to feed more than nine billion people by 2050, global food production must increase by 70 percent; developing countries may even need to double food production. This steady growth in the world’s population, especially in Africa, is forcing farmers to grow crops on ever-decreasing land area, stripping those soils of their natural nutrient content.
Fertilizers are critical to improving the world’s food security because they deliver the missing nutrients that plants must have to grow, in a form they can use. The balanced application of fertilizers is critical to returning nutrients to the soil – not only stabilizing crop yields, but dramatically increasing output as well. In its growth cycle, a plant can only develop to the point that existing nutrients make possible. With the proper combination of natural and chemical fertilizer amendments to the soil, crops are able to grow to their full genetic potential – a factor that will be crucial to increasing agricultural production over the next four decades.
The goal of the video series is not only to gain broad exposure among those interested in agriculture and plant science, but also to encourage average viewers to become part of the conversation about the necessity of plant nutrition and growth – and the looming question of how to feed the world by the midpoint of this century. The series is being distributed to high school and college educators, agricultural extension services, educational websites and U.S. agricultural development policymakers. It is also being provided to government policymakers around the world, non-governmental organizations and international associations related to agricultural intensification and food security.
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