The inaugural meeting of the Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture was held today in New York to coincide with the United Nation’s Secretary General’s Climate Summit. The alliance was formed to help governments, farmers, scientists, business and civil society, as well as regional unions and international organizations, to improve agricultural practices, food systems and food policies to address climate change and promote the efficient use of natural resources.

The role of fertilizers for increasing agricultural productivity is key to global food security and for increasing yields on existing arable land, thus preserving forests and biodiversity. As such, fertilizers associated with good agricultural practices are necessary components of climate-smart agriculture. Three fertilizer industry organizations—the International Fertilizer Industry Association (IFA), the International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI), and The Fertilizer Institute (TFI)—decided therefore to join the Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture to encourage the industry to promote the proper use of our products to minimize their environmental impact in the field.

“Global food security will never be realized without the use of commercial fertilizers, and our industry’s 4R Nutrient Stewardship program provides the foundation for responsible use of these essential plant nutrients,” said IPNI President Dr. Terry L. Roberts.

Scientific principles of nutrient stewardship address using the right fertilizer sources at the right rate, right time, and right place so as to achieve economic, social and environmental goals.

One of the most important actions to building climate-smart agricultural practices is to improve outreach to farmers on correct and balanced fertilizer application. The fertilizer industry regards farmers—large and small—worldwide as strategic partners since they are the ultimate customers and users of our products.

“We stand ready to support farmers, big, medium and small, men, women and youth, to use fertilizer products appropriately and cost effectively so they can raise their yields, increase their incomes, improve their livelihoods, and take care of their soils and the environment,” said IFA Director General Charlotte Hebebrand.

The fertilizer industry is actively taking steps for climate-smart agricultural practices through its efforts with the 4R Nutrient Stewardship framework.

“By promoting nutrient stewardship at national and regional level, we can safely and sustainably feed a growing population, while reducing nutrient loss to the environment and thus helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said TFI President Chris Jahn.

Sustainable agricultural intensification and climate change mitigation must not be viewed as a trade-off.  Farmers and the fertilizer industry can and should work together to develop site-specific outreach and training programs in order to ensure that the world’s farmers can continue with the most important task they have of feeding the world, and do so with reduced environmental effects, while becoming more resilient to climate change.