October 16, 2012 – MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. USA – Established in 1981 by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, World Food Day (October 16) provides an opportunity to highlight solutions to hunger and poverty and achievements in food security and agricultural development. This year’s theme, “Agricultural cooperatives: key to feeding the world,” recognizes the role cooperatives, producer organizations and other rural institutions play in improving food security around the world.
IFDC recognizes World Food Day and is committed to continuing to build and improve agricultural linkages through the development of farmer/producer and agro-dealer groups. “Working with cooperatives allows IFDC to reach thousands of farmers in order to transfer information and technology,” said John Wendt, program leader for Natural Resource Management in East and Southern Africa. For example, IFDC’s CATALIST project worked with national, provincial and local governments and cooperatives in the Great Lakes Region of Central Africa to provide information on integrated soil fertility management and best agricultural practices. Over 200,000 farmers in the region adopted IFDC-recommended technologies and agricultural practices.
IFDC is now implementing CATALIST-2, which will continue to significantly improve food security in that same region. The project is expected to help 700,000 smallholder farmers increase their incomes by 50 percent; together, they are expected to produce an additional 1 million metric tons of marketable cereal equivalents over the course of the project. A similar project – CATALIST-Uganda – is increasing crop productivity and linking farmers to input and output markets by improving value chains, which link the numerous steps that a commodity takes from the farmer to the ultimate consumer.
Across its projects, IFDC emphasizes linking smallholder farmers to markets and promoting trade to increase food availability and incomes. IFDC helps strengthen, organize and professionalize farmers, and supports growth in agro-input, processing and marketing industries that facilitate the expansion of the entire agribusiness complex.
“We assist smallholder farmers to move from subsistence to commercial farming,” said Dr. Amit Roy, IFDC president and CEO. “In addition, IFDC is improving fertilization techniques and developing new, more efficient fertilizer products that increase crop yields while protecting and conserving natural resources.”
For example, fertilizer deep placement (FDP) is a simple yet innovative technology that IFDC has been using in partnership with the Government of Bangladesh for over 30 years. When used on lowland rice, FDP involves the placement of 1-3 grams of fertilizer briquettes at a soil depth of 7-10 centimeters shortly after the rice is transplanted. FDP increases nitrogen use efficiency because most of the fertilizer’s nitrogen stays in the soil, close to the plant roots where it is absorbed more effectively. The benefits of the technology are significant – crop yield increases average 20 percent, nitrogen losses decrease approximately 40 percent and 35 percent less fertilizer is used. Funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development and implemented by IFDC, the Accelerating Agriculture Productivity Improvement (AAPI) project in Bangladesh is expanding FDP technology to over a million hectares involving 2.5 million farmers.
IFDC, headquartered in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, USA, is a public international organization, governed by an international board of directors with representation from developed and developing countries. The nonprofit Center, with over 700 employees involved in projects that span more than 35 countries in Africa and Eurasia, is supported by various bilateral and multilateral aid agencies, private foundations and national governments.
IFDC focuses on increasing and sustaining food security and agricultural productivity in developing countries through the development and transfer of effective and environmentally sound crop nutrient technology and agribusiness expertise.
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