Alianza Mundial por el Suelo

Launch of the recently endorsed International Code of Conduct for the Sustainable Use and Management of Fertilizers

The Fertilizer Code provides a locally-adaptable framework and voluntary set of practices to serve the different stakeholders that are directly or indirectly involved with fertilizers. It sets out roles, responsibilities, and actions of government; the fertilizer and nutrient recycling industries; agricultural extension and advisory services; research and academia; farmers and other end users in relation to the production, trade, policy, regulation and use of chemical and mineral fertilizers, organic fertilizers, and reused and recycled nutrients.

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Soon available in all FAO official languages


The International Code of Conduct for the Sustainable Use and Management of Fertilizers was endorsed by member countries at the 41st session of the FAO Conference.

The Fertilizer Code was developed in response to a request by the 25th session of the Committee on Agriculture (COAG) for FAO to strengthen its work on food safety and the safe use of fertilizers and pesticides (26 - 30 Sep 2016). It also responds to the third UN Environment Assembly (UNEA3) declaration on soil pollution and supports the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines for Sustainable Soil Management (VGSSM).

The Code aims to guarantee an effective and efficient use of fertilizers and address issues of global importance including:

  • Global food production and food security;
  • The preservation of fundamental ecosystem services
  • The maximization of economic and environmental benefits;
  • The reduction of negative impact of excess nutrients in ground and surface waters;
  • The minimization of negative effects and potential toxicity of contaminants in fertilizers;
  • The improvement of food safety, diets, nutritional quality and human health.

The  Fertilizer Code is the result of a broad and intensive consultation process overseen by the Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils (ITPS) between December 2017 and February 2019. The document was initially developed by the ITPS with public inputs during two open-online consultations and the support of an open-ended working group (OEWG) consisting of fertilizer experts nominated by member countries and other experts from academia, industry, civil society and the farming community. The document was revised by member countries after the Sixth Plenary Assembly (PA) of the Global Soil Partnership and also through a final round of consultation facilitated by the COAG Bureau.

FAO Members and other relevant stakeholders are encouraged, with the guidance of the GSP Secretariat, to translate the Fertilizer Code into effective actions through the development of regulations, awareness raising programmes and other concrete outputs to help with the broad dissemination of the principles addressed in the Code. The GSP Secretariat will naturally support the implementation of the Fertilizer Code by formulating tools to facilitate its implementation and by carrying out case studies to demonstrate its effects.

It is expected that all involved stakeholders will contribute to sustainable agriculture and food security from a nutrient management perspective, by adhering to and supporting the implementation of the Fertilizer Code and the recommendations it provides.

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