Case-study: Zinc in Turkey
Zinc fertilizer boosts yields and public health in Central Anatolia, Turkey
Zinc deficiencies were identified in the early 1990s as reducing wheat yields in Central Anatolia. A research project was started in 1993 which showed that Zn applications led to significant increases in grain yield. In certain areas (DTPA-Zn ≤ 0.1 mg/kg soil), where cereal production was not previously economical, and yield was extremely low (0.25 ton/ha), grain yield increase went up 6- to 8-fold.
The effects of Zn fertilizers on plant growth and yield became more pronounced under rainfed conditions. Plants grown on Zn-treated soils or derived from seeds with very high Zn concentrations showed much better seedling establishment and higher tolerance to environmental stress factors (“winter killing”). Soil or foliar Zn application also improved grain quality by increasing grain Zn concentration and reducing phytic acid, a compound involved in the impairment of Zn bioavailability in humans.
The results were so positive that fertilizer industries in Turkey, particularly TOROS Fertilizer and Chemical Industry , produced increasing amounts of NP and NPK fertilizers containing 1 % Zn, at the same price as those containing just the three main plant nutrients.
Convinced by the results in their fields, Turkish farmers significantly increased the use of the Zn-fortified fertilizer within a few short years, despite the repricing of the products to reflect the added-value of the content.
Today, nearly 10 years after the identification of Zn deficiency problem, the total amount of Zn-containing compound fertilizers produced and applied in Turkey reached a record level of 300 000 tonnes per annum. It is estimated that economic benefits associated with the application of Zn-fertilizers on Zn deficient soils in Turkey is around US$ 100 million per year.
For more information
CIMMYT Solving the Zinc Problem from Field to Food
Enriching Grain with Micronutrients: Benefits for Crop Plants and Human Health , by Cakmak, I., Sabanci University, Turkey
Identification and correction of widespread zinc deficiency problem in Central Anatolia , Turkey by Cakmak, I., Sabanci University, Turkey
Toros Agri Industry