U.S. Department of Agriculture Supports Soil Fertility Symposium

Islamabad | February 4, 2015

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in concert with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) conducted a soil fertility symposium for 50 technical experts from the public and private sectors in Pakistan. The symposium is part of an ongoing effort to improve the efficacy of fertilizer application among farmers in Pakistan.

Guest speakers at the event included Dr. Thomas Reinsch, USDA National Leader for Soil Resources, and Michael Kucera, a farmer and recognized USDA expert in soil health. Dr. Reinsch, who has visited Pakistan previously, commented, “proper management is critical to improving soil health and contributing to the potential for higher yields for Pakistan’s farmers. There are many affordable and simple practices that farmers can adopt and the potential for enhanced collaboration between farmers and the fertilizer companies is significant.”

The one-day symposium focused on the importance of a balanced nutrient regime for farmers that follows the “Four R’s” when applying fertilizer – the Right type, the Right amount, the Right time, and the Right place. When following the “Four R’s” farmers can reduce their costs and maximize yields, helping to improve their profitability while reducing the harmful environmental effects of over-applying fertilizers. Key topics discussed included the proper applications of nitrogen, phosphorous, and micro-nutrients.

Agriculture continues to be a critical sector for Pakistan’s economy, contributing 21 percent of Gross Domestic Product and providing employment for millions. USDA supports Pakistani agriculture by assisting in the development of agricultural productivity, furthering economic objectives, and working to meet food security needs. This project and other USDA activities also receive funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).