March 26, 2013 – MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala., USA – Dr. Amit H. Roy, president and chief executive officer of the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC), announced today that Dr. Prem Bindraban has been appointed as executive director of the Virtual Fertilizer Research Center (VFRC), a semi-autonomous unit of IFDC. Bindraban will begin his duties on June 15 and will be based in Washington, D.C.
Created in 2010, the VFRC is a research initiative to foster the next generation of fertilizers and production technologies to help feed the world’s growing population and provide sustainable food security. The VFRC is a global initiative comprised of multiple research institutions cooperating to advance a unified research agenda. The VFRC is governed by a 13-member board of advisors of prominent public and private sector leaders who are experts in the fields of agriculture, fertilizer, food security, sustainable development, soil science and international philanthropy.
“The VFRC came into existence to increase food production in response to the rising world population,” stated Dr. Jimmy Cheek, chancellor of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and chairman of the VFRC board of advisors. “Sanjib Choudhuri, the VFRC’s first executive director, helped establish the organization, disseminate information about it and oversaw the VFRC’s first grants to create the next generation of fertilizers. Now Prem Bindraban will work with Amit and the VFRC board to expand the VFRC’s efforts and help fulfill its mission and promise.”
According to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, about 1.2 billion people lack enough food to maintain a healthy and productive lifestyle. “The need for more efficient fertilizer to ensure responsible, sustainable food security is a global issue and therefore requires global solutions. This is why the work of the VFRC is so vital,” Roy said. “Prem Bindraban has more than 20 years of broad-based international experience focused on providing science-based information on food security. With his expertise in global development issues, he is an excellent choice to lead this global initiative.”
“After serving for more than two decades at my alma mater, Wageningen University and Research Center (WUR) in the Netherlands, with secondments to the International Rice Research Institute [IRRI] and International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center [CIMMYT], and the past four years at ISRIC World Soil Information, I have been given the opportunity to make a more tangible contribution to resolving world food insecurity,” Bindraban stated. “Moreover, while the VFRC has made progress, global development issues such as food security and poverty are still unresolved. We have no time to waste in moving forward.”
Prior to joining the VFRC, Bindraban had been the director of ISRIC World Soil Information at WUR in the Netherlands since 2009. He has also been a lecturer in Future Planet Studies at the University of Amsterdam since 2009, leader of international research at Agrosystems Research PRI at WUR since 2008, served as a professor in crop modeling at the University of São Paulo (Brazil) from 2008 to 2010 and as head of the Natural Resources unit of WUR’s Plant Research International from 2000 to 2008. He also served as a researcher at CIMMYT from 1993 to 1996 and at IRRI in 1991.
Bindraban earned a M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Tropical Crop Science from Wageningen University and an MBA from European University.
Based in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, USA, IFDC 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 in 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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