IFA, IWMI, IPNI and IPI jointly published a reference guide, Managing Water and Fertilizer for Sustainable Agricultural Intensification, to improve general understanding of the best management practices for the use of water and fertilizers throughout the world to enhance crop production, improve farm profitability and resource efficiency, and reduce environmental impacts related to crop production. Water and fertilizers are essential inputs for agricultural production. By optimizing their use and management jointly, farmers can achieve higher yields and better returns, while mitigating possible negative environmental impacts of their activity.
The book calls for a change in approach to address the interactions between water productivity and nutrient use efficiency in irrigated and rain-fed conditions. “Affordable improvements in nutrient and water management will be especially crucial for the millions of smallholder households that struggle to produce sufficient food and income to sustain their precarious livelihoods in rain-fed regions where rainfall is highly variable”, says Frank Rijsberman, CEO of the CGIAR Consortium and author of the book’s foreword. However, improving the management of water and fertilizers is very knowledge-intensive. “Transferring knowledge and triggering adoption of best management practices by farmers requires a major and coordinated effort from all the stakeholders advising farmers, especially smallholder farmers”, says Patrick Heffer, IFA Senior Director of Agriculture Service.
The book highlights important new practices such as fertigation, precision farming and sustainable agriculture that not only increase yields but also encourage more balanced crop nutrition with all essential macro and micronutrients. “Innovation offers great opportunities to improve simultaneously water productivity and nutrient use efficiency to the extent of even doubling efficiencies”, says Hillel Magen, Director of IPI. Innovation both in the way water and plant nutrients are applied, managed, reused and recycled along with policy reform and incentive-based approaches will be critical in transforming to sustainable production systems and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. We must encourage farmers, scientists and consumers to acknowledge and engage in this challenge.
The book can be downloaded at: