1st IPI – Ministry of Agriculture – ATA Ethiopia Joint Symposium


The Role of Potassium in Cropping Systems of Sub-Saharan Africa: Current Status and Potential for Increasing Productivity

04-05 September 2014
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia


Programme *.pdf  –  http://www.ipipotash.org/udocs/463-ssa-2014-program.pdf



The sustainability of agricultural systems greatly depends on balanced fertilization to improve soil fertility for secure and sustainable food production. Potassium (K) fertilizers play a crucial role in improving the quality and yield of crops and thus contribute to the welfare of farming communities. Governments, private companies and foreign countries have invested in extensive agricultural projects in Africa that demonstrate the benefits of applying proven practices and guidelines derived from scientific field experiments. Many African countries have the potential to produce not only for their own consumption, but also for other countries across the continent and beyond to feed the growing global population.

In many African countries, one of the main obstacles to agricultural productivity is soil fertility depletion. African soils have been subjected to severe degradation caused by both natural and human factors. In addition to low use of chemical fertilizers, use of farmyard manure or crop residues has also been minimal, thus exposing soils to higher risk of nutrient depletion. In general, the smallholder agricultural production system is exposed to low level of input use, particularly with respect to fertilizers and improved seeds.

In several sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries, although fertilizer use has slowly been increasing, the average intensity of fertilizer use throughout the region remains much lower than elsewhere. Of the major nutrients, K is used in smaller quantities, thus not meeting crop demand. In many countries, nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) have been considered as the nutrients least present in soils; therefore, DAP (di-ammonium phosphate) and urea fertilizers have been the only fertilizer sources that have been in use in Ethiopia and in several other SSA countries. Moreover, until recently, it was widely believed that K fertilizer was unnecessary. In Ethiopia, a shift in this erroneous common thinking was triggered by research activities conducted by stakeholders during the last few years, the results from nationally launched soil fertility mapping, and ongoing new fertilizer demonstration trials being conducted in many areas. Results from these initiatives proved that several nutrients including K are limiting crop yield. Based on these results, Ethiopia introduced six new fertilizers (including K) for distribution to farmers beginning in the 2014 cropping season.

One cause for the low use of K is related to the often higher levels (are above levels considered critical) of exchangeable K in soils, particularly in Vertisols with higher clay contents. On the other hand, even in such soils, good crop response to K application is being found. The Symposium “The role of potassium in cropping systems of sub-Saharan Africa: current status and potential for increasing productivity” will address the issues related to the role and benefits of K fertilizers, focusing on chemical, physical and biological processes in soil and plants, farm management and economic application of fertilizers. During the symposium, issues including soil fertility, quality of mineral fertilizers, and efficient use of fertilizers will be discussed.

This event will be of interest to soil and plant nutritionists, agronomists, extension officers, as well as governmental/non-governmental organizations and private companies that have an interest in balanced fertilization. Invited speakers will include scientists from the region, and beyond. Poster presentations are open to all, and students are encouraged to participate and present relevant research related to the themes of the symposium.

Main Themes

  • Potassium fertilizer management in major cropping systems of sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Current advances made in the determination of potassium status in soils and plants.
  • Evaluation of soil potassium fertility in Ethiopia and East Africa.
  • Evidence of the effect of potassium fertilization on nutrient and water use efficiency.
  • The beneficial role of potassium in tackling biotic and abiotic stresses in cropping systems.
  • Nutrient mining and stagnation of agricultural productivity in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Potash production in Ethiopia: prospects and challenges.
  • Public-private partnerships: the role of NGOs in scientific information generation and transfer.

Confirmed Speakers

  • Tilahun Amede, ICRISAT, Kenya
  • Gezahegn Ayele, USAID/CIAFS, Ethiopia
  • S. K. Bansal, Potash Research Institute of India
  • Benayahu Bar-Yosef, Agricultural Research Organization of Israel
  • Khalid Bomba, CEO, Agricultural Transformation Agency, Ethiopia
  • Mulugeta Demiss, Agricultural Transformation Agency, Ethiopia
  • Peter van Erp, Soilcares Research, The Netherlands
  • Eyasu Elias, CASCAPE, Ethiopia
  • Sileshi Getahun, State Minister of Agriculture, Ethiopia
  • Mart Farina, Adviser, Omnia Fertilizers, South Africa
  • Sam Gameda, IFPRI, Ethiopia
  • Mitiku Haile, Ethiopia representative to UNESCO, France
  • Wassie Haile, Hawassa University, Ethiopia
  • Hillette Hailu, Haramaya University, Ethiopia
  • Bashir Jama, Director of Soil Health Program, AGRA
  • Huising Jeroen Elzo, IITA-International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Kenya
  • Erik Karltun, Agricultural Transformation Agency, Ethiopia
  • Selamyihun Kidanu, Agricultural Transformation Agency, Ethiopia
  • Teshome Lakew, Ministry of Agriculture, Ethiopia
  • Hillel Magen, IPI director, Switzerland
  • Tekalign Mamo, Minister’s Advisor and State Minister of Agriculture, Ethiopia
  • John Mellor, Prof. Emeritus Cornell University, U.S.A
  • Abebe Shiferaw, Agricultural Transformation Agency, Ethiopia
  • John Wendt, IFDC- East & Southern Africa Division, Kenya
  • Nega Wubeneh, Agricultural Transformation Agency, Ethiopia
  • Uri Yermiyahu, Agricultural Research Organization of Israel

Link: Ethiopia Ministry of Agriculture
Documents: First Announcement (pdf 773 kB)Second Announcement (pdf 775 kB)
Email: Ms. Hanan Mohammed (Event Manager)
Tel: +251 11 6186915, 251 11 6186911, 251 911 614309

Sourced here  http://www.ipipotash.org/en/events/SSA+2014.php

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