VFRC Publications - Page 15

Transformations to Serve Societies The fundamental role of fertilizers with their far-reaching implications for ecosystem and human health urges us to take a hard look at our current fertilizer products, technologies and use. The immense challenge is to turn the negative spirals in production-ecological processes due to human interventions into positive processes by exploiting ecological synergies based on ecological intelligence and literacy.14 The impact of fertilizers through the interconnectedness between the many ecosystem drivers, with both direct and indirect impacts on human health, wealth and overall well-being deserves undivided collective attention and an effort placed toward innovative fertilizers. Vice versa, innovative products and renewed approaches and guidelines for their use will make lofty improvements to societal development. Innovative fertilizer products should: 1. Serve as a production input to raise profitability of smallholder farmers and alleviate poverty 2. Improve nutritional quality of food to help fight hidden hunger 3. Help to reduce farmers’ production risk through healthier, more robust and resilient crops 4. Drive high yield levels for production of sufficient food to ensure food security 5. Be taken up instantaneously by feeding the plant rather than the soil 6. Be easily available and accessible to empower social groups, including women and young farmers The fundamental role of fertilizers with their far-reaching implications for ecosystems and human well-being urges us to take a hard look at our current fertilizer products, technologies and use. 7. Be climate-smart by reduced emissions of greenhouse gases and losses to surface and groundwater 8. Sustain and improve the ecological production base of soil, water and biodiversity 9. Minimize resource use and advance processing of nutrientcontaining waste products toward a circular economy Such comprehensive one-stop-shop for addressing multiple interconnected societal issues implies a systems change to bring about the next mega-trend in agricultural development. Breakthrough technologies will be an essential component in this process of systems change, but pursuing quick fixes to such a comprehensive issue without considering the context may be an oxymoron, more so given the non-linear nature of ecological processes and the complexity of societal requirements. VFRC is, therefore, fostering the processes leading to a desired systems change by building a global science network for developing a research agenda to be mainstreamed in R&D