Expert explains how fertilizer is going to change the world

Leadership Perspectives
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MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. (WHNT) – Companies that make the world a better place are a great thing.  This week Scott Angle, President of International Fertilizer Development Center stopped by WHNT News 19 to share with us how his company is working to do just that.

Locally, not many people know about IFDC and what they do on a global scale.  “Interestingly I can be over in Africa, Asia, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, people all over the region know about IFDC.  It has a huge presence world-wide, but it’s a well-kept secret in the local community.” says Angle.

What exactly does IFDC do for the world?  Scott Angle claims that, “Basically what it does is it helps farmers grow more food.  We’ve obviously got a real problem on this planet, with populations growing quickly, and particularly as people move out of dire and utter poverty.”

The population on this planet is pretty big, currently around seven billion people live here.  By the year 2050, population growth is estimated to be around 10 billion.  Currently, global food production cannot meet the projected needs.  There is not enough land to grow it on or enough water to grow it with.  So what needs to be done?  “If you think about it there’s no more land, in fact less land to grow food on.  In Brazil for example we are taking land out of agricultural production and putting it back into rain forest, or savannah for climate change, to help with some of the global climate change problems.  There will be less land probably in the future, and certainly there will be less water, that’s one of the main inputs for agriculture, water.  And we know that we’re running out of water, just look at what’s going on in California right now.  So, we’re got to double food production, but with fewer resources, less land, less water.  And that all comes down to technology, and one of the main technologies that can help with food production and that’s fertilizers.” explains Angle.

One of the biggest issues with this problem is that you can’t give someone a bag of fertilizer without teaching them how to use it in the most efficient way.  IFDC takes responsibility for teaching global farmers the best ways to use the product without wasting it.  “Ultimately that may be the most important part.  And it’s that old give a man a fish or teach a man to fish philosophy.  The donor community, and we’re an NGO, a non governmental agency or organization that is out there trying to help people have a better life, but in the past so many of these groups have actually given fertilizer to a farmer, but when it’s free,they waste it.  I’ll give you a good example of how its wasted.  Much of the rice production around the world, they simply take this fertilizer, which is often free, and they just throw it out on the surface of the land, and what happens then, it either rains and the fertilizer runs off into the river and causes pollution problems or more likely it actually turns into a gas that volatilizes and goes off into the air and causes climate change problems.  So, not only has the farmer lost the value of the fertilizer, it’s not going to help him produce, but it’s caused environmental problems.  So, what the International Fertilizer Development Center has done is they’ve developed a technology where you take that fertilizer and you actually bury it in the ground near the roots of the plant.  So you don’t get the runoff into the rivers, you don’t get the climate change problems, and you get much more efficient use, you can use less fertilizer in the long run.” says Scott Angle.
View our entire conversation with Scott Angle here in three parts:

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