To discuss the pressing issues of the sector such as micronutrient deficiency and its impact on agriculture and human health, the International Zinc Association in collaboration with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Rio Tinto, organized a virtual roundtable recently on 'Micronutrient Fertilizers for Food and Nutrition Security'.
Based on the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations' theme of 'International Year of Fruits and Vegetables 2021', the key objective of the roundtable was to highlight the importance of micronutrient fertilizers including zinc, wherein innovative and new generation fertilizers, like fortified, specialty and water-soluble fertilizers were discussed.
With the objective to promote and advance a healthy lifestyle and build immunity, FAO announced 2021 as the 'International year of fruits and vegetables. Fruits and Vegetables are considered a rich source of nutrients in human health. However, most soils globally are witnessing multi-micronutrient deficiencies, dominated by zinc (Zn) and boron (B).
Dr Ashok Dalwai - CEO, NRAA & Chairman, Task Force, Doubling Farmers Income (PMO), Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, GoI, said, "Absence of micronutrient like Zinc and Boron has been shown to have a direct impact on the crop output. The way forward is to strengthen the backward linkages such as the infrastructure upgradation of soil testing, creation of awareness amongst relevant stakeholders, policy redesign and most importantly the research & development that gets deployed into creation of micronutrient fertilizers. We are committed to achieving these targets in the years to come."
Speaking at the roundtable, Dr Andrew Green - Executive Director, IZA (USA) said, "For the agricultural sector to grow, not only does the farm production and productivity need improvement but the quality of output needs to be looked at simultaneously. Adding micronutrients such as zinc have not only proven to enhance crop yield and water uptake but also results in healthier, stronger crops."
Addressing the audience, Meetu Kapur, Executive Director, CII Food and Agriculture Center of Excellence said, "The program gains relevance given that amongst the multitude of challenges that agriculture faces globally deterioration of soil health is a key concern. The importance of micronutrients needs to be viewed from a food systems approach and a holistic approach is needed for developing sustainable micronutrient supply systems through interactions/ discussions amongst the stakeholders."