Agriculture in the tropics and subtropics must become much more efficient and productive if the food, fibre, building materials, and energy needs of developing countries are to be met. Increasing amounts of the right kinds of fertilisers must be physically and economically available to farmers of these areas if these agricultural goals are to be attained.
Fertilisers and fertiliser practices that meet the specific needs of the tropics and subtropics must be tailored to the crop, soil, climate, and socioeconomic factors that prevail. With ever-increasing costs of raw materials, processing, and transportation, more attention must be given to the increased efficiency and recovery of applied nutrients and greater utilization of indigenous resources must be encouraged.
Biological fixation of nitrogen, conservation, and recycling of nutrients and organic matter including green manures must be encouraged. Chemical fertilisers and management practices must be devised that supplement these practices and not replace these sources.
The International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) was created in 1974 to develop new and improved fertilisers and fertiliser know-how for developing countries with special emphasis on tropical and subtropical agriculture. IFDC’s mission, its success to date, and outlook for the future will be addressed.