VFRC Publications - Page 31

Virtual R&D Network for Innovative Fertilizers The VFRC has engaged in developing strategic collaborations with renowned institutions and scientists by visiting R&D institutions. It has reached out to institutions in open calls to help build the scientific backbone for VFRC’s views through critical review analyses for setting out search pathways for innovative fertilizer products and technologies. At present, over 60 scientists worldwide from over 15 international and national institutions are directly engaged in VFRCrelated R&D activities. The VFRC also establishes relationships with fertilizer industry players through participation in conferences of fertilizer associations and visits to fertilizer enterprises on invitation or request. With the engagement in national and global dialogues at conferences and consortia meetings, VFRC introduces the needs for a paradigm shift in fertilizers to a wider audience, including NGOs and policymakers, to create momentum for a global platform, including a VFRC stakeholder dialogue meeting. It exchanged ideas and insights on the technicalities of fertilizer solutions and the processes to be pursued for engaging a wider audience to catalyze a transformation in the world of fertilizers. The results of these institutional interactions and dialogues indicate that the effort of the VFRC on R&D for innovative fertilizers are relevant, important and timely, and could become a game-changer. The fundamental nature of fertilizers in the broader context of soil fertility and their wide ranging implications to serve multiple societal objectives need to be clearly conveyed to a wider audience. There is a call to collectivity create broader ownership and an inclusive governance processes to move the VFRC initiatives forward. Concerns were raised that required scientific expertise to take on R&D for innovative fertilizer, as outlined by VFRC, to be rebuilt. Strong public-private partnerships should be built to reap the multiple benefits from innovative fertilizers. Particular interest has been expressed by the industry sector in testing fertilizer products for the growing African demand where tuning of fertilizer products is especially needed for the specific soil and agro-ecological conditions. Notably, the initial and evolving VFRC R&D agenda has been based on these interactions. 27