Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN)

Decision support tools for agricultural production, fertilizer recommendations and climatic variability
IFDC announces an international training programme
Venue: Nairobi, Kenya
8 March 2010 - 19 March 2010
International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC)

Final Reminder – We are still accepting registration

Program Fee: $1,200 (by February 9, 2010) or $1,400 (after February 9, 2010)

Agriculture and related activities provide the livelihood opportunities for 8 out of every 10 African workers. Yield-enhancing technologies, including improved seeds, crop protection products and integrated soil fertility management (ISFM) that includes inorganic and organic fertilizer materials, allow farmers to typically double, and in some cases, triple or quadruple yields. Available technologies also enable farmers to minimize expenditures and reduce risks regarding the application of costly mineral fertilizers by combining them with organic nutrient sources, applying non-conventional fertilizers with “point placement” or use of decision support tools (DSTs) for improved crop recovery of nutrients.

The cost of mineral fertilizers often comprises the largest single component in the smallholder farmer’s overall costs of production. By reducing the cost of inputs, farmers can improve their net returns from agriculture. Simultaneously, improved yields offer market opportunities and associated improvements in food security.

IFDC and other partner organizations have engaged in research and development activities coupled with extensive field testing to validate decision support systems that can enhance decision-making at the smallholder farmer level. Such systems enable rapid assessment of more effective and economic combinations of locally available nutrient sources and inorganic fertilizers that farmers can apply on a site-specific basis to increase yields and income. These site-specific recommendations are developed within the framework of an assessment of climate variability and the potential for long-term climate change.

The workshop program “Decision Support Tools for Agricultural Production, Fertilizer Recommendations and Climatic Variability” will offer an opportunity to disseminate the results of the work of IFDC and other partner organizations while providing hands-on training in the application of decision support systems tools.

Workshop program objective
The objectives of this two-week program are to:
  • Increase participants’ knowledge of decision support systems in improving the productivity of agriculture.
  • Give hands-on use of decision support tools to address a wide array of production questions.
  • Enhance participants’ understanding of application opportunities for decision support systems to improve yields and achieve resource conservation.
The program will enable those engaged in agricultural research and extension services to improve their ability to use geographic information systems (GIS) and modeling tools to collect, analyze and employ soil, weather and market information in systems to generate site- and crop-specific soil nutrient recommendations.

The course will improve participants’ skills in integrating field data with DSTs and in the methods of disseminating and applying results that lead to better yields and higher profits.

Who should attend
This workshop is designed for agronomists, soil scientists, meteorologists and economists from national and international agricultural research institutes and universities in Africa as well as policymakers from African governments and ministries in charge of agricultural productivity and planning.

Workshop program content
The course will cover all facets of fertilizer recommendation systems including risks associated with climatic and market fluctuations. Topics to be addressed by a faculty of experts will include:
  • General introduction to fertilizer requirements, ISFM and DSTs.
  • Using existing soil, climate, crop and socioeconomic data and crop simulation models for ex-ante analysis of yields and market accessibility for strategic site selection.
  • Identifying yield gaps and plant nutrient demand for target yields.
  • Determining of optimal nutrient rates within the context of ISFM.
  • Designing field trials and data collection exercises.
  • Maintaining and updating nutrient recommendations.
  • Employing DSTs (DSSAT and PRDSS) for rapid analyses and recommendations.
  • Applying of GIS and IDSS tools for site-specific recommendations.
The program will include formal sessions and breakout groups. Field trips and interactive discussion involving the participants and lecturers will be integral parts of the program, ensuring that specific interests of the participants are covered.

The program faculty will include subject matter experts from IFDC and partner organizations.

VISA applications
In many countries, six to eight weeks is required to process visa applications. Thus, it is important that you begin this application process immediately to ensure receipt of your visa in due time. If you are unsure about any travel visa requirements, please access the following link for applicable requirements:; or contact your local embassy.

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