Improving Agricultural Productivity and Net Returns Among Smallholder Farmers Through Efficient Use of Nutrients and Water
Tel Aviv, Israel
May 6-10, 2012
Program Fee: US $1,600 (before April 6, 2012) or US $1,800 (after April 5, 2012)
The world population has reached seven billion and will continue growing at an ever-faster rate. Supplying the calories and the nutrients needed for a productive and healthy life for every individual will require doubling agricultural production within a few decades. The additional social function recently given to farmers for producing renewable fuels has significantly increased the production responsibility of farmers and the pressure on natural resources.
The only way farmers around the world can rise to the challenge of feeding the population, producing renewable fuels and prime materials for industry, is by making more efficient use of water and crop nutrients. Worldwide, agriculture now consumes about 70 percent of all the freshwater on the planet. Ever-growing cities and industry compete with agriculture for available water. Wildlife and ecosystem conservation is also imposing additional restrictions on farmers to water sources. While water has been ‘free’ for many farmers, now water has started to have a price. Water should be treated like other expensive production inputs. Water ‘demands’ the creation and adoption of water-saving technology. The growing cost of fertilizers, the finite availability of phosphorus and potassium, the need to improve the nutritional characteristics of crops and the need to reduce or eliminate detrimental impacts of fertilizers in the environment are very strong reasons to develop and apply technology for the efficient use of nutrients. The increasing occurrence of droughts and floods, combined with the higher uncertainty of predicting these extreme weather events due to climatic global changes, add complications and challenges that must be addressed with research and the application of technologies for efficient use of water and nutrients.
The challenges associated with the adoption of technology for more rational use of water and nutrients have different implications depending on the economic condition and the geographical location of the farmer. If farmers without land and capital limitations are slow to adopt these technologies, they will set themselves at a disadvantage in the markets while the smallholder farmers who do not have access to technology for water and nutrient use efficiency are endangering the food supply for their families and communities. The situation for smallholder farmers in the marginal production conditions of the dry areas is even more dramatic considering that global climate changes likely will make water scarcity more severe and temperatures will continue to rise. Attempts to produce crops without the adoption of technologies that make use of water and nutrients more efficient in dry regions may result in physical vanishing of communities through famine and migration and will cause further degradation of natural resources (soil, water and rangeland ecosystems). The arid and semi-arid areas of the world are inhabited by one billion people and account for one-third of the planet’s land area.
Both developing and developed countries have a pressing need for research and development to identify rapid interventions to increase yields and the nutritive content of crops. This becomes more crucial considering that by 2030 the world food production must rise by 50 percent to meet the demand.
The efficient use of fertilizers and water is the most important factor influencing improved agricultural production, farmers’ profitability and the impact farmers have on other resources and the environment. All available tools – experimental and simulation tools – must be used to demonstrate the effective use of fertilizers while conserving the integrity of natural resources to ensure high productivity and the well-being of the future generations.
This international training on “Improving Agricultural Productivity and Net Returns among Smallholder Farmers through Efficient Use of Nutrients and Water” will be conducted in Israel. The nation is one of the leaders in the development, application and diffusion of proven technologies to increase agricultural production while using less water and smaller production units in arid zones. The training program will be carried out in collaboration with the Agricultural Research Organization (ARO) Volcani Center of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. The technologies created and used in Israel are not restricted to crop production in dry conditions, since the efficient use of water and nutrient resources is important even in wet regions of the earth. The principles and equipment associated with technologies developed by ARO and private organizations in Israel can be adapted to make them accessible to farmers of all economic conditions producing in all agro-ecological zones of the world.
Training Program Objective
The objectives of this one-week program include:
- Increase participants’ knowledge of the principles of nutrient and water use efficiency (NWUE) to improve smallholder farmers’ livelihoods and protect natural resources.
- Update participants on the development of new fertilizer products and technologies to enhance NWUE.
- Present participants with experimental and simulation tools for the assessment of NWUE and recommendations of fertilizers in a wide range of crops and peri-urban agriculture.
Who Should Attend
The program is designed for agronomists, soil scientists, irrigation experts, fertilizer manufacturers, researchers and extensionists from national and international agricultural research institutes and universities, as well as policy-makers from governments and ministries in charge of agricultural productivity and planning. Executives and managers of fertilizer and agricultural input organizations, as well as innovative farmers will find this program extremely useful. Representatives of international organizations and donors involved in developing strategies for increased agricultural production through the use of emerging technologies that promote resource conservation and increased efficiencies will also benefit from this program. National commissions of agriculture, as well as international associations of horticultural producers will find the program useful. Participants should understand English.
The topics to be addressed by a faculty of experts will cover the general concepts associated with:
- Site-specific management of nutrients and water in the context of smallholder farmers, including the impact of NWUE on:
- Yield and revenue increases.
- Human health and nutrition.
- Risks associated with climate variability and change.
- Alternatives to enhance NWUE will be discussed with respect to:
- Technologies for rain harvest and improvement of soil moisture retention.
- Development and application of irrigation technology for arid and semi-arid regions.
- Development and application of fertilization technology for arid and semi-arid conditions.
- Technology for greenhouse agriculture.
- Use of resource conservation agriculture and fertilizer best management practices (FBMP).
- Improvement of plant types.
- Tools for the assessment of NWUE and recommendations of fertilizers:
- Experimental tools.
- Simulation tools.
The five-day training session will include lectures, research reports, a field visit and demonstrations of tools and methodologies. These will demonstrate the available technology, as well as the developing technology, that can help smallholder farmers improve their livelihoods and conserve natural resources.
The program faculty will include subject matter experts from IFDC and partner organizations.
The Hotel Metropolitan is located in the very center of this bustling city and, at the same time, only one block away from the Mediterranean Sea and Tel Aviv's expansive sandy beaches. Guests may enjoy the outdoor swimming pool, sauna, gym, Wi-Fi Internet and business lounge. Our hotel lobby bar offers dairy snacks, light meals and pastries daily between the hours of 10:00 a.m. until midnight. The Metro Cafe restaurant serves lavish Israeli breakfasts, as well as gourmet lunches and dinners throughout the week. At Hotel Metropolitan, we never forget that for our business guests, leisure time is just as important as work time. Between business activities, a world of enjoyment in the "city that never sleeps" waits to be explored only minutes from your door. If you feel like a sampling of local nightlife or activities, just let us know. We will be happy to help with tickets, tee times, tours, reservations or recommendations. We're here to make your visit as entertaining and enjoyable as possible!
Participants will be extended IFDC’s special negotiated single occupancy room rate of USD $140/per night or double occupancy room rate of USD $165/per night, both inclusive of breakfast. This rate does NOT include taxes/VAT. Participants are responsible for reservation and payment of accommodations at Hotel Metropolitan. The cut-off date for reservations under IFDC’s negotiated terms is April 14, 2012. After this date, reservations will be subject to hotel room availability and at the best available rate. Guests will enjoy central air-conditioning/heat, mini-bar, free Wi-Fi and double-glazed windows to enjoy views of either the Mediterranean Sea or the White City.
Participants should plan to arrive in Tel Aviv on Saturday, May 5, 2012.
Visa and Medical Insurance
APPLICATIONS FOR VISAS SHOULD BE MADE AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE. Participants who are not eligible to enter Israel without a visa should apply at the nearest consulate of Israel for a visa. All required immunizations and health formalities should be completed. Medical insurance should be obtained by participants. The training program fee does not cover any medical insurance or expenses.
Cost and Enrollment
The program fee for this training course is US $1,600 per participant. This fee is due with enrollment but no later than April 6, 2012. A non-refundable deposit of US $200 is required with each registration. The deposit will be credited towards the program fee which is due four (4) weeks before the program is scheduled. Thereafter, a Late Fee will apply. The program fee, less the deposit, will be refunded for cancellations made two (2) weeks before the commencement of the program. Ninety percent of the paid fee will be returned and 10 percent, in addition to the deposit, will be charged to cover administrative costs for cancellations made between two (2) weeks and one (1) week before the commencement of the program. Cancellations made less than one (1) week before the commencement of the program will receive no refund.
Registration will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Paid participants will receive priority. Registration and program fee payments should reach IFDC by April 6, 2012. Those received thereafter will be accepted at IFDC’s discretion and incur an additional US $200 late fee. An organization wishing to enroll more than one participant should supply information for each participant.
Payment of the program fee can be made by: (1) check or draft payable to IFDC; (2) wire transfer to IFDC account in the U.S.A. through First Metro Bank, 406 West Avalon Avenue, Muscle Shoals, Alabama, U.S.A., ABA number 062203955 for credit to IFDC Account number 55281; or (3) major credit card – MasterCard, Visa or American Express.
The program fee covers registration, training and reference material, coffee/tea breaks, all lunches and surface transportation on field trips. The fee does not include air travel, lodging and dinner expenses, or medical and communication expenses. Participants should plan to arrive in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Saturday, May 5, 2012.
IFDC is a nonprofit, public international organization (PIO) dedicated to increasing agricultural productivity and food production through the development and use of plant nutrients in sustainable crop production systems. Headquartered in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, U.S.A., IFDC is involved in human resource development, research and technical assistance in collaboration with public, private, national and international organizations throughout the world. IFDC has conducted about 700 formal workshops, study tours and training programs for more than 10,000 participants from 150 countries since 1974. The programs have covered a wide range of subjects including integrated soil fertility management and fertilizer use efficiency, fertilizer production technology, agro-input dealership, competitive marketing, supply chain management, investment analysis, policy reforms and numerous specialized topics.
About the Agricultural Research Organization (ARO) Volcani Center
The Agricultural Research Organization (ARO), the research arm of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, is responsible for most of the agricultural research conducted in Israel. This research aims to improve existing agricultural production systems and to introduce new products, processes and equipment, thereby ensuring the basis of Israel's future agriculture. The ARO has an extensive research infrastructure that supports both basic and applied research, conducted by more than 200 Ph.D. scientists and 300 engineers and technicians. These workers are organized into six institutes located on the main campus at Bet Dagan, and in two regional research centers in the north and south of the country. The Institute of Soil, Water and Environmental Sciences is engaged in basic and applied research concerning the soil-plant-atmosphere continuum. It is dedicated to improving agricultural productivity without compromising environmental quality, and to conserving soil and water, two of Israel's most limited natural resources.
For more information:
Director, Training and Workshop Coordination Unit
P.O. Box 2040
Muscle Shoals, Alabama 35662, U.S.A.
Telephone: +1 (256) 381-6600 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting +1 (256) 381-6600 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Telefax: +1 (256) 381-7408
As a nonprofit organization, IFDC does not finance or sponsor any participant.