Research for development
The activities started in 1976 and supported by the GTZ (German agency for Technical Cooperation) on Behalf of the federal Ministry for Technical Cooperation (BMZ) FRG. Activities run in Cooperation With the Institute for plant nutrition , Technical University Munich – Weihenste phan (Prof. Dr.A.Amberger).
Micronutrients and plant Nutrition Program me.
Micronutrients in soils/plants/animals/human beings.
Micronutrient deficiencies in soil lead to low crop yields with low quality and low content of micronutrients in the products.
Fodder having low contents of micronutrients leads to animal diseases, which in some cases cause low productivity and infertility.
Human beings, in turn, suffer from diseases due to lack of micronutrients in the diet. Zinc deficiency causes growth inhibition in adolescence, a disease which is widespread in Egypt.
Balanced fertilization including micronutrients leads not only to higher yields and crops with better quality, but also to healthier animals and prevents human diseases.
Micronutrient problems are not restricted to Egypt.
Studies and observations carried out by the staff as well as literature studies showed that the problem of micronutrient deficiencies in soils/plants/animals and human beings are widespread in the arid areas of the Arab region from Morocco to Yemen as ell as in many other locations, like East Africa , Pakistan , Iran and India . Zinc deficiency in human beings was discovered over seventy years ago in this region.
These facts give more importance to the Egyptian German efforts in the field of micronutrient studies. The obtained results could be applied in other locations in the region and the developed methodologies, strategies and solutions are not restricted to Egypt. A transfer of Knowledge and Know-how can be of benefit to all participants and is less in cost.
Research for Development /objectives of the Programme.
Very brief and in general, the objectives of the Programme can be summarized as follows:
- Working out specific fertilizer recommendations applicable under field conditions at plot, farm, village and/or district level, to provide the various field and horticultural crops with their requirements for micronutrients as a part of integrated and balanced crop nutrition.
- Ensuring the use of recommendations by the farmers, to increase yields and, accordingly, income.
- Transferring acquired experience to more farmers as well as other countries in the region, and intensifying cooperation with them.
Institutional and capacity building: Project infrastructure.
In order to achieve objectives and secure sustainability, an organized an well managed infrastructure was developed through:
- Establishing three farmer service units including routine laboratories for soil testing and plant analysis in different parts of the country
- Using different local and international systems for quality control of laboratory results
- Constructing and building a green house for pot experiments
- Providing training and qualifications upgrading for all project staff
- Establishing wide range of contacts with farmers and farmer ’ s organizations (cooperatives) to carry out field experiments
- Keeping working contacts and relations with relevant interested individuals and institutions in the country, the region and abroad
- Upgrading capabilities of a group of trainers in different aspects of the system to train farmers, extension agents and transfer results to broader target groups
- Establishing a specialized library on plant nutrition and fertilizers use
- Establishing a public relation, documentation and publication units
- Establishing a well equipped training unit
- Running a prlot unit for open door man culture of algae
From research to application: Project activities and direct results.
- Conducting analytical studies on soils and plants (over 130,000 samples) and field surveys.
- Conducting on-farm trials (over 750 trials) .
- Conducting pot experiments (over 120 experiments) .
- Developing and testing new micronutrient foliar fertilizers.
- Collecting available local and regional information on plant nutrition problems.
These activities resulted in the following.
- Identifying nutritional problems in major crops, especially wheat, maize, peanut, fababean, citrus, grapes, mango, potatoes and others in 14 of the agricultural Governorates in the country and newly reclaimed areas in the West-Delta.
- Developing 15 new micronutrient foliar fertilizers to meet the needs according to crops and soils based on different technologies (sulphates /cheated powders/cheated suspensions) in cooperation with different companies.
- Identifying most available ways of using micronutrient foliar fertilizers to get highest efficiency under Egyptian climatic and agronomic conditions.
- Establishing a local system for calculating specific fertilizer recommendations on farm level according to crop target yield, based on soil testing, plant analysis and local agronomic practices.
This system is now being adapted to be used by computer and updated regularly accor Information obtained.
Technology transfer: How the results are applied for the benefit of farmers.
The final target group of the project are farmers, either individuals or through the agricultural cooperatives or companies.
the newly developed system , including the use micronutrients and the need of balance had to be introduced and the validity of project know-how had to be tested on wider scale a Revolving fund (RF) was established to offer the following services to the farmers:
- Soil testing and plant analysis
- Survey of farming system
- Working out balanced fertilizer recommendations on farm level
- Providing micronutrient foliar fertilizers, which are developed by the project according to the needs for testing
- Technical assistance regarding fertilizer use.
It was clear that farmers should pay for theses services. In the first years, the service was highly subsidized. Farmers contributions were gradually increased, and it is projected that they shall pay the actual costs soon.
To enhance the wide adoption of the system, the program me is giving advice to extension service staff and dealers to include the use of micronutrients into the fertilizer recommendations and train them on the proper use