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The Fertilizer Code was developed in response to a request by the 25th session of the Committee on Agriculture (COAG) for FAO to strengthen its work on food safety and the safe use of fertilizers and pesticides (26 - 30 Sep 2016). It also responds to the third UN Environment Assembly (UNEA3) declaration on soil pollution and supports the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines for Sustainable Soil Management (VGSSM).
Rachid Serraj (FAO)• 2019 IFPRI Egypt Seminar "Fertilizer policy in Egypt and options for improvements"
Improving Fertilizer Use Efficiency in Egypt:
Perspective from FAO
Egypt’s policies and strategies on sustainable fertilizers use and
FAO’s work on sustainable use of fertilizers in Egypt (cases)
Take-home messages - FAO’s International Code of Conduct for
Sustainable Use & Management of Fertilizers
Delivery Manager of the Small Scale Family Farming Initiative (RI-SSFF)
N & Ag Productivity
“ Chemical fertilizer is the fuel that has powered
the Green Revolution's forward thrust ”
Norman Borlaug Is this sustainable?
What are the alternatives?
Cassman et al., 2002. Agroecosystems, Nitrogen-use Efficiency and Nitrogen Management
N and P flows to the biosphere and oceans:
N & P biogeochemical cycles have been radically
changed by humans as a result of industrial and
Fertilizer production & application is main concern
Human activities convert more atmospheric N into
reactive forms, which is emitted to the
atmosphere rather than taken up by crops.
a small proportion of P fertilizer applied to Ag
production systems is taken up by plants; much
of it ends up in aquatic systems.
A significant fraction of applied N and P
makes its way to the sea, and can push
marine and aquatic systems across
Estimates of how different control variables for 7 planetary boundaries have changed
from 1950 to present. The green shaded polygon represents the safe operating space.
Source: Steffen et al. 2015
Biogeocheminal flows & Planetary Boundaries
BNF for sustainable intensification
Biological Nitrogen Fixation: ~200 Mt /year
Industrial fertilizer production: 120 Mt/year
Energetic cost; pollution (NO3, etc.)
Excess NO3 in soil : Inhibition of BNF
FAO & Fertilizer use in Egypt - Background
Most interesting fact:
The study found several traditional
practices commonly implemented and
which play a major role in restoring and
maintaining soil fertility, including:
Planting berseem clover as a winter
fodder crop before the cotton crop,
providing a green manure by ploughing
in after taking one or two cuts;
Incorporating farmyard manure into the
soil during seedbed preparation, usually
done before an important cash crop
such as cotton is planted;
Including a legume in rotation such as
fababean, clover and soybean, which
have a positive effect on soil fertility
and provide part of the N requirement
Recommendations for improving soil
A more extensive use of soil and
plant tissue analysis.
Assessment of the fertilizing value
of fertilizers that have been
marketed without proper testing.
Study of the direct and residual
effects of biofertilizers and organic
Preparation of fertilizer
recommendations for new crop
Development of new types of
complex fertilizers suitable for drip
and sprinkler irrigation systems.
Assessment of the residual as well
as the direct effect of different
sources of phosphorus.
Preparation of nitrogen balance
sheets for the main field crops.
Objective: to improve productivity and fertility in degraded and salt-affected soils through Integrated Soil
and Nutrition Management (ISNM) and farmers’ involvement through FFSs;
1. To demonstrate appropriate ISNM methods for sustainable production (farmers’ fields) in Fayoum and Nubariya;
2. To strengthen and/or establish field laboratories for optimum application of ISNM;
3. To strengthen agricultural extension in pilot areas with emphasis on the designation and training of extension workers
and farmer groups (FFSs);
4. To establish at national level, a liaising and technology units.
e.g. One major achievement is application of zinc fertilizers in rice fields; 20 years ago zinc fertilizer was
unknown to rice farmers in Egypt. Today application of zinc fertilizers to paddy nurseries is one of the
general fertilizer practices in rice cultivation.
Capacity Building in Land Management & Soil Productivity/Fertility
through Farmers Field Schools 
Egypt's strategies on fertilizers management
• On request of the Government of Egypt, FAO is currently reviewing
the Sustainable Agricultural Development Strategy 2030 (SADS);
• One of the objectives of the strategy is agricultural land maintenance
policy and efforts towards improving quality control of agricultural
inputs, including fertilizers, rationalize fertilizer and pesticide use
and maximize FUE;
• Great emphasis on programs for maximizing farmers’ utilization of
agricultural residues and popularizing ways and means to recycle
them in producing fertilizers, animal feed and energy creating an
added economic value and contributing to the reduction of the
negative environmental effects.
• An action plan under development.
FAO work in Egypt – GAP Fayoum
• In support of GAPs for sustainable improvement of horticultural
production of small-scale farmers in Fayoum, SS farmers receive
hands-on training in
– Integrated production and protection of horticultural crops;
– adoption of GAP, water and natural resource management, seedling cultivation;
– effective use of agriculture waste through the implementation of compost piles;
– Proper use of fertilizers and bio fertilizers to improve soil fertility.
• practices for enhanced soil fertility: soil samples are analyzed and
results and recommendations are distributed to farmers; who also
benefit from application of gypsum to improve soil fertility, as well
as deep ploughing and land laser leveling;
• GAP guidelines for small scale horticulture farmers.
FAO work in Egypt – GAP Matrouh
• EU-Funded Project to increase sustainability and production of
rainfed agriculture in rural areas of northern Matrouh, as means for
improving livelihoods of the rural poor.
Two of the main activities:
• Providing input related to high production and efficiency e.g., high quality
olive seedlings, good quality fertilizers, micronutrients to address constraints
in the adoption of improved technologies;
• Capacity building of farmers on good crop management practices (trainings
and field days) to train farmers on cultivation of olive seedlings and
adoption of GAP practices for olives and figs and procedures of distribution
and application of organic fertilizers according to tree type and age.
The International Code of Conduct for Sustainable Use & Management of Fertilizers
Launch on 05 August 2019 after endorsement at 41st FAO Conf.
In support of Food Safety, Sustainable Soil Management and
preserving the Environment Objectives ICC-SUMF:
• Provide voluntary standards of practice for all stakeholders involved in use and management
of fertilizers, e.g. governments, farmers, private sector, etc.
• Encourage cooperation between all stakeholders involved in the fertilizer value chain for
the responsible and sustainable development, production, use and management of
fertilizers and reused and recycled nutrients;
• Promote transparency, partnership and information exchange among all stakeholders
regarding the access to and use of fertilizers;
• Promote safe recycling of nutrients to reduce the environmental and soil health impacts of
• Inspire governments, research, private sector and civil society to promote innovation in
sustainable agricultural practices, technologies and management so as to improve soil
fertility and nutrient management;
• Assist countries and regions to control and enforce fertilizer quality through appropriate
regulatory mechanisms and reducing economic losses to end users;
• Improve fertilizer safety and reduce the risks to human and animal health;
• Encourage the dissemination of knowledge, e.g. data on fertilizer use and management,
through appropriate mechanisms;
• Encourage ISFM using nutrients from a range of safe sources.
Agroecology: Hype or Must? ...for facing Global Challenges & Planetary Boundaries
RECYCLING EFFICIENCY SYNERGIES RESILIENCE CIRCULAR &
CULTURE & FOOD