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The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) commissioned this study. It is one of a series of publications on fertilizer use on crops in different countries.

FAO, the International Fertilizer Industry Association (IFA) and the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) issue countrywise statistics on "fertilizer use by crop". The aim of the present series is to examine the agro-ecological conditions, the structure of farming, cropping patterns, the availability and use of mineral and organic plant nutrients, the economics of fertilizers, research and advisory requirements and other factors that have led to present fertilizer usage.

The "fertilizer use by crop" statistics have been related to FAO's forecasts of worldwide crop yield and areas. The results were published in the year 2000 FAO publication "Fertilizer requirements in 2015 and 2030". The reports in the present series examine, country by country, the factors that will or should determine the future development of plant nutrition.

During the past two decades, increasing attention has been paid to the adverse environmental impact of both the under use and the over use of plant nutrients. The efficient use of plant nutrients, whether from mineral fertilizers or from other sources, involves the shared responsibility of many segments of society, including international organizations, governments, the fertilizer industry, agricultural research and advisory bodies, traders and farmers. The publications in the series are addressed to all these parties.

Fertilizer use is not an end in itself. Rather it is a means of achieving increased food and fibre production. Increased agricultural production and food availability can, in turn, be seen as an objective for the agricultural sector in the context of contributing to the broader macroeconomic objectives of society. A review of the options available to policy makers is given in the FAO/IFA 1999 publication entitled "Fertilizer strategies".

The contents of the studies differ considerably from country to country, in view of their different structures, histories and food situation. But in each case the aim of the study is to arrive at a better understanding of the nutrition of crops in the country concerned.

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