IFDC — an International Center for Soil Fertility and Agricultural Development — has developed an innovative approach to agricultural development called Integrated Soil Fertility Management (ISFM), involving not just farmers, researchers, and extension workers but also bankers and traders, including inputs dealers and fertilizer enterprises. The holistic approach, based on the agribusiness system at the regional level, combines participatory methods to develop and extend ISFM technologies and support institutional changes that enable their adoption and facilitate effective linkages between farmers and the "market."
The primary donors for this work are the U. S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the International Fertilizer Industry Association (IFA). Another project sponsored by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) enhances the ISFM work.
"ISFM-based intensification technologies are based on the combined use of soil amendments and chemical fertilizers," says Dr. Arno Maatman, Leader, IFDC Input Accessibility Program. "Different amendments exist, and their requirement depends on soil characteristics. Organic resources are used for improved soil organic matter status. Limestone can be used to improve the pH level; soluble sources of phosphorus and phosphate rock are frequently used to increase the availability of phosphorus. The more difficult challenge is to improve the status of soil organic matter. More and better organic matter is needed. ISFM technologies that integrate the use of inorganic fertilizers with crop residue recycling, (green) manure, fodder crops, mixed cropping, crop rotation and agroforestry can improve the availability and quality of organic matter. The technologies lead in time to improved fertilizer use efficiency."
Marie K. Thompson | EurekAlert!
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