Each year, we invest nearly $3 million in fertilizer education programs that work with farmers in our export markets to make the best use of our potash and continue to work towards meeting our world’s growing demand for food.
Our farmer education programs began in China in 1983, and have since expanded into more than 25 countries. Our programs predominantly target regions where potash application is low, such as Asia, Latin America and Oceania, with the goal of educating farmers on the benefits of applying the most effective ratio of potash, nitrogen and phosphates in their own fields. These grassroots programs include several different types of activities, including region-specific training sessions, Fertilizer Symposiums, Harvest Field Days, conferences, demonstration plots, farmer meetings, crop seminars, retailer training, promotional literature, soil testing, software and database development and radio programming.
"Harvest Field Days" include a series of demonstration plots that are set up on farmers’ own fields, which compare local common practices with recommended, science-based fertilizer application practices. Harvest Field Days are family-oriented events organized to demonstrate the benefits of balanced fertilization. These events, which began in China, are now popular in many regions where Canpotex does business.
Canpotex education programs focus on the needs of local farmers and aim to provide a better understanding of the benefits of potash application and balanced fertilization. Farmers in China have seen improvements to crop health, yields, and income by combining balanced fertilization practices with the 4R Nutrient Stewardship program.
Canpotex partners directly with its customers in India to provide educational programs for local farmers on the benefits of using potash (K) in balance with nitrogen (N) and phosphate (P) to achieve optimal crop results. In 2015, over 42,000 soil tests and recommendations were provided to local farmers, and approximately 500 demonstration plots were conducted throughout India, where fertilizer was applied to the same crop at two plots using traditional NPK ratios compared to recommended NPK ratios. Millions of farmers in India have been reached through these and a variety of other programs aimed at making a positive contribution to global food supply.
In Indonesia, Canpotex promotes best management practices and site-specific nutrient management practices for palm oil. This program encompasses the entire palm oil cycle, providing best management practices for all stages of growth from seedlings to mature palms. Using these guidelines, customers in Indonesia have seen their crop yields increase up to 25%.
In Mexico, projects have demonstrated the synergy between correcting soil acidity limitations by applying potash to increase maize yields. After two years of field work these programs have made a significant impact on farmers, many of whom were emotional about seeing the yields increase in their maize crops fields when they did not think this was possible.