UK Joins Global Fertilizer Challenge with $3.8 Million Investment
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UK Joins Global Fertilizer Challenge with $3.8 Million Investment

UK Minister of Agriculture Breakthrough, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, announced that the UK would join the Global Fertiliser Challenge and contribute $3.8 million to a new research consortium, the Efficient Fertiliser Consortium. The consortium, in partnership with the USA and the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, aims to develop and test innovative fertilizer products to boost productivity while preserving natural resources.

The announcement was made during a speech in Washington, D.C., where Trevelyan expressed concern over the climate crisis, global food insecurity, and the escalating impacts of armed conflicts. Notably, she mentioned the ongoing turmoil caused by Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, which has disrupted food, fertilizer, and fuel markets, exacerbating economic instability and increasing global food insecurity.

Trevelyan stressed that the agriculture sector, the second-largest producer of greenhouse gas emissions and a leading driver of deforestation and biodiversity loss, must innovate to address these challenges.

Fertilizers were highlighted as a priority in last year’s Breakthrough Agenda Report. Global fertilizer prices have soared by 30% from February to April last year, further straining supply chains already under stress from the pandemic.

The newly announced Efficient Fertiliser Consortium will address this issue by developing novel fertilizer products to enhance productivity and safeguard natural resources. Trevelyan invited other partners to support this critical new research, noting that innovation alone is insufficient. The key is to overcome barriers and facilitate the widespread adoption of sustainable technologies.

Trevelyan also spoke about the Agriculture Breakthrough, launched during the UK’s COP26 Presidency. Its goal is to make climate-resilient and sustainable agriculture the most attractive and widely-adopted option for farmers by 2030.

She highlighted a range of promising solutions, from cutting-edge solar irrigation for smallholder farmers in Africa to climate-resilient crops like the Vitamin A sweet potato. She also mentioned the potential of investing in advanced AI, predictive modeling, and big data to extend credit to smallholder farmers, transforming their productivity and enabling them to grow more while protecting natural resources.

The minister underscored the enormous potential of agricultural innovation, which could add an extra $1.7 trillion to the GDP in the Global South and reduce global food prices by 16%.

Ahead of COP28, Trevelyan encouraged more countries to join the Agriculture Breakthrough initiative, stating that international collaboration is vital to overcoming barriers to the widespread adoption of sustainable solutions.

Photo by James Baltz on Unsplash 

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