The U.N. predicts the world’s population will reach nine billion people by 2050. Growing population, combined with finite agricultural resources, means meeting the ever-increasing demand for food is a critical challenge for our people and planet. Agrium is responding to this challenge by playing a leading role in creating and implementing innovative solutions to help growers meet rising demand.
By offering products and services that help growers increase their crop yields in an environmentally responsible way, we make an impact on the security of the world’s food supply. Sustainable intensification of agriculture helps address the issue of food supply and security by meeting the following goals:
- producing more from the same land;
- increasing profits to growers, which in turn support community and economic development;
- reducing nutrient losses to the environment;
- protecting habitat; and
- improving soil quality.
Agrium supports these efforts through developing and implementing robust and wide-reaching education programs, and through the creation of innovative seed, fertilizer products and services. Notably, Agrium contributed to the formation of the U.N. SDGs through our participation in the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Solutions Network Leadership Council.
Read more about our management approach to food supply and security. Our focus on nutrient stewardship, technology and our products also contribute to expanding food supply responsibly. More information on these subjects is also available in the Environment section.
Promoting Best Practices in Agriculture
Agrium has been a long-time champion of the 4R Nutrient Stewardship System. The system helps farmers around the world to meet their economic, social and environmental goals by applying regionally specific best management practices in the areas of nutrient rate, time, place and source. Through the 4R system, farmers are able to sustainably intensify crop production. This means increasing yield without bringing more land into agricultural production, while reducing nutrient losses to the environment. The 4R system supports global goals to enhance food security, improve water quality, enrich soils, increase economic returns for farmers and build communities.
The 4R system is being adopted globally through shared value partnerships that bring diverse stakeholders together to locally implement 4R programs. In North America, several partnerships were created to address concerns of nutrient loading in local water jurisdictions. Industry, NGOs, farmers and government are also working to reduce GHG emissions by implementing 4R practices that decrease nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions in the field.
The North America fertilizer sector launched a $7 million 4R Research Fund in 2013 to support researchers conducting field data trials that help quantify the environmental benefits of 4R practices.
The impact of 4R is apparent in smallholder farming situations where soils are degraded and nutrient deficient. In partnership with the International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI), Agrium funded pilot projects in Kenya (2012-2016) and Morocco (2014-2017) to develop 4R recommendations for smallholder farmers leveraging IPNI’s Nutrient Expert system. To expand local extension capacity of these recommendations to smallholder farmers, Agrium worked with Millennium Promise (MP) building on our long-standing support of the Millennium Villages Project, which came to an end in 2015. The 4R Solution, as it is now known, evolved from the combined efforts of Agrium, IPNI and MP. In 2015, the 4R Solution pilot helped more than 100,000 smallholder farmers increase crop yields by an average of 28-38 percent (0-300 percentage range) using locally specific 4R recommendations. Agrium is partnering with industry, NGOs and government to expand the 4R Solution globally. This scalable sustainability solution has the potential to raise millions of smallholders from poverty while improving soil quality, and access to education and medical care.
In the coming years, Agrium will focus our efforts on more fully integrating 4R at the field level through customer outreach from our North American retail network. We will also focus on working with the sector to advance the 4R Solution, supporting existing and new regional 4R efforts, and on enhancing 4R measurement to support continuous improvement.
4R Nutrient Stewardship System: