IFA Podcasts

Listen to IFA’s podcasts below or find them on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Spotify where you can also subscribe to future episodes.


October 13 2022

Reduced fertilizer consumption in 2022 raises the risk of significantly lower crop yields in the next harvest. That means lower food production and ultimately more people at risk of hunger and starvation.

In this second part of our Securing food and nutrition in 2022 podcast, Ben Valk - Global Head of Food and Agri Partnerships for Rabobank - speaks with IFA CEO/Director General Alzbeta Klein about emergency measures to ensure resilience - including short-term finance for farmers and hotspot country interventions such as the Sustain Africa Initiative.

In part one of the podcast, featuring Dr. David Nabarro - the World Health Organization's Special Envoy on Covid-19 – Klein and Nabarro discussed the evolving nature of the food crisis and what is being done to bridge farmers’ access to fertilizers, seeds and nutrient use efficiency advice.

About the guest speaker

Ben Valk


Ben Valk is the Global Head of Food and Agri Partnerships for Rabobank - the globally leading Food and Agri bank. Valk has worked extensively in domestic and international banking. The throughline of Valk’s career is agriculture and food system transformation. For example, he brought about the first 60% of investment in the AGRI3 fund for forest conservation and sustainable agriculture. And Valk has contributed to the Food Action Alliance, the UN Food Systems Summit 2021, Covid-19 response and Food Systems for the Future.



September 14 2022

Global food systems are fragile and millions of people around the world are at risk of hunger, even starvation. The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on incomes, supply chains and economic growth, plus the ongoing effects of climate change and the war in Ukraine have brought us to a point not seen since the 2008 food crisis. The most vulnerable countries are those facing balance of payments crises at the same time as their populations are struggling with rising costs and falling incomes. But efforts are underway to secure food and nutrition in 2022 and to build resilience. In this edition of the IFA Podcast, Dr. David Nabarro, the World Health Organization's Special Envoy on Covid-19 spoke with IFA CEO/Director General Alzbeta Klein about the evolving nature of the food crisis and what is being done to help – including, short- and medium-term measures to get fertilizers, seeds and nutrient use efficiency advice to farmers, especially smallholder farmers in poorer communities.

About the guest speaker

Dr. David Nabarro


David is the World Health Organization’s special envoy on COVID-19. He is also the former Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Climate Change. He has more than 30 years’ experience of public health, nutrition and development at country, regional and global levels. David is also the Strategic Director of the social enterprise, 4SD. Based in Switzerland, it provides training and mentoring leaders for sustainable development.



June 23 2022

Gabriel Eze, Co-founder & CFO, Rural Farmers Hub, Nigeria and Jamie Collinson, CTO, Innovative Solutions for Decision Agriculture (iSDA), UK, talked with IFA Chief Scientist Achim Dobermann about how digital advisory solutions can benefit smallholder farmers in Africa, particularly with regards to efficient use of nutrients and other agronomic advice. Hear more about the work and vision of Rural Farmers Hub and iSDA and how digital advisory solutions can scale up to reach millions of farmers.

About the guest speakers

Gabriel Eze, Co-founder & CFO, Rural Farmers Hub, Nigeria

Jamie Collinson, CTO, Innovative Solutions for Decision Agriculture (iSDA), UK

Gabriel Eze is co-founder and CFO of Rural Farmers Hub, a private e-extension service provider helping farmer organizations and extension agents support smallholder farmers with better farming decisions via satellite remote sensing or in-person. He helps build new ventures and projects around AI in the education, SME, health, agriculture and security sectors, especially for disadvantaged communities. An advocate for ethical use cases of AI in Africa with more than 10 years of experience in design, software development, and IT consulting, Gabriel is also the Founder/CEO of Touchabl Pictures, co-founder of MyPaymart (an online trust management platform/escrow and trade advisory) and a guest speaker at Hult International Business School.

Jamie Collinson is Chief Technology Officer at Innovative Solutions for Decision Agriculture (ISDA), a mission-based company developing financially sustainable and commercially scalable solutions for smallholders in Africa. He is a programmer, entrepreneur and lapsed mathematician who is passionate about building technology teams and using software to make things people want. Before joining iSDA, Jamie led a software consultancy focused on helping startups launch their first products, created a software-as-a-service product and took it to market. He also consulted with a wide range of organizations as a “virtual CTO,” managed IT and digital marketing for an international NGO and founded an e-commerce business. Jamie read the Mathematical Tripos at the University of Cambridge.


May 18 2022

Some 3 billion people in the world experience 'hidden hunger.' They might have enough rice, wheat and pulses to eat, for example, but the food lacks the vitamins and micronutrient minerals such as zinc, iron, selenium and iodine needed for normal brain development and strong immune systems. How can we use fertilizers to improve the micronutrient content of food crops? Ismail Cakmak, Professor of Plant Nutrition, Sabanci University, Turkey, and Martin Broadley, Professor and Science Director, Rothamsted Research, UK, sat down with IFA Chief Scientist Achim Dobermann to discuss how fertilizers can improve the micronutrient content of food crops - biofortification - and help tackle hidden hunger.

About the guest speakers

Ismail Cakmak, Professor of Plant Nutrition, Sabanci University, Turkey

Martin Broadley, Professor and Science Director, Rothamsted Research, UK

Ismail Cakmak is Professor of Plant Nutrition at the Sabanci University, Istanbul, Turkey. His current research focused on understanding stress-mitigating effects of mineral nutrients in crop plants and human nutritional aspects of plant minerals, especially micronutrient deficiencies. Professor Cakmak has published 190 peer-reviewed articles, which have been widely cited. Since 2009, he has coordinated the International HarvestZinc project in 12 countries, exploring the role of fertilizer strategy (agronomic biofortification) for enriching food crops with micronutrients such as zinc and iodine. Professor Cakmak is Marschner Review Editor, Plant and Soil (Springer) and a member of the Scientific Panel on Responsible Plant Nutrition, the Scientific Advisory Board of the International Magnesium Institute and the World Iodine Association. Ismael received his doctorate in plant nutritional physiology from the University Hohenheim in Stuttgart, Germany.

Martin Broadley is Professor and Science Director (Above and Below Ground Processes) at Rothamsted Research, and Professor of Plant Nutrition at the University of Nottingham. Professor Broadley’s research seeks to increase understanding of mineral nutrient dynamics in agriculture and food systems. A particular focus is on improving the nutritional quality of crops for human and livestock diets. This work includes collaborations with soil and crop scientists, human and animal nutritionists and social scientists. It also includes the development of long-term research and training partnerships with higher education and government research institutes in sub-Saharan Africa. From 2017–2021, Professor Broadley was a part-time Senior Research Fellow (Agriculture and Food Systems) in the Research and Evidence Division of the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.


December 07 2021

Kim Nicholson, VP of Ag Technology and Innovation at The Mosaic Company and Mike Pereira, Chief Agronomist of Finistere Ventures, talked to IFA Chief Scientist Achim Dobermann about why innovation should become the key driver for the transformation of the crop nutrition industry. Find out about innovations in other sectors that will affect the fertilizer industry, opportunities for accelerating innovation, creating the right culture, and the challenge of scaling up farmer adoption.

About the guest speakers

Kim Nicholson

Michael Pereira

Kim Nicholson is Vice President of AgTech & Innovation at the The Mosaic Company where she serves on the Global Strategy Team focused on R&D and innovation related to Mosaic products and services. Kim has dedicated over 30 years to the agribusiness industry and has experience in the areas of strategic planning and innovation, brand development, sales leadership, general management and operations.

Mike Pereira is Chief Agronomist for Finistere Ventures, a leading venture capital company in the agricultural technology and food technology space, consults in vegetable seeds and alternative crops through his company, Granum Services, and and is lead instructor for two short courses for seed professionals through the Seed Biotechnology Center of UC Davis, Seed Business 101 – Horticulture and Seed Production. Mike is a highly accomplished agriculturalist with extensive experience over a 39 year career in agronomy, seeds and biofuels.


November 08 2021

Patrick Brown, Distinguished Professor of Plant Nutrition at the University of California-Davis and Katja Hora, Research Manager Specialty Plant Nutrition at SQM sat down with IFA Chief Scientist Achim Dobermann to explore the idea of a new, broader definition of plant nutrients. Find out how a new definition of what a plant nutrient is has the potential to revitalize innovation and discovery; and could align better with nutrients deemed essential for animal and human nutrition, to create a more holistic concept of nutrition.

About the guest speakers

Patrick Brown

Katja Hora

Patrick Brown is a professor of Plant Sciences in the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of California, Davis. Dr. Brown’s research focuses on function and transport of nutrients in plants and the management of nutrients in agricultural ecosystems. Dr. Brown is a highly cited researcher whose contributions include the identification of nickel as an essential element for plants, critical contributions to the understanding of the function, uptake and transport of boron in plants, identification of mechanisms of plant tolerance to heavy metals in the environment and on the mechanisms of action of foliar fertilizers.

Katja Hora is Research Manager of Specialty Plant Nutrition at IFA member SQM. Dr. Hora joined SQM’s global development team in 2014 to gather and exchange knowledge on potassium nitrate for fertigation, foliar, and field applications. She works on programs including potassium nitrate for maximum crop yield and quality - compared to sulphate or chloride containing K-sources - to grow crops with less water, prevent salinity stress and optimizing nitrate to ammonium ratios. Dr. Hora has a PhD in evolutionary biology from the University of Amsterdam.


September 20 2021

David Powlson, Lawes Agricultural Trust Fellow at Rothamsted Research and Joachim Lammel, VP of Sustainability and Strategic Research at Yara Farming Solutions talked to IFA Chief Scientist Dr. Achim Dobermann about soil health and carbon sequestration. Find out why interest in soil health is growing, how it can be measured, what can be done to improve it and the potential of soil to capture carbon from the atmosphere.

About the guest speakers

David Powlson

Dr. Joachim Lammel

David Powlson is emeritus professor and Lawes Trust Senior Fellow at Rothamsted Research, from which he retired in 2006. His previous work at Rothamsted was to lead research on carbon cycling. His research interests include the dynamics of organic carbon in soil and the interactions between land management and climate change. He is currently contributing to projects on carbon cycling and the use of biomass crops for energy generation.

Dr. Joachim Lammel is Vice President of Sustainability and Strategic Research at Yara Farming Solutions. Mr. Lammel’s previous positions at Yara include Vice President R&D Global Initiatives and Head of Product and Application. Before joining Yara Dr. Lammel worked as a Senior Scientist at the Federal Agricultural Research Centre Braunschweig, Germany. He holds a M.Sc. in Agronomy and a Ph.D. in Crop Nutrition from University of Giessen.


July 12 2021

Michael McLaughlin, Professor at the University of Adelaide, Australia and Ramesh Raliya, General Manager and Head of R&D at IFFCO's Nano Biotechnology Research Centre, India sat down with IFA Chief Scientist Achim Dobermann to discuss the future of smarter fertilizers and developments in fertilizer technology, including the potential and challenges for nano-technology in crop nutrition.

About the guest speakers

Michael McLaughlin

Ramesh Raliya

Dr. Mike McLaughlin is a Professor in the School of Agriculture Food and Wine and Director of the Mosaic-sponsored University of Adelaide Fertiliser Technology Research Centre (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/fertiliser/). Mike gained his B.Sc. from the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland, a M.Agr.Sc from the University of Reading (UK) and his Ph.D. from the University of Adelaide (Australia). With research interests in soil/fertilizer chemistry and crop nutrition, he has published more than 350 research papers dealing with fertilizer chemistry, soil fertility, crop nutrition and fertilizer contaminants and holds several patents covering novel fertilizer formulations.

Dr. Ramesh Raliya is the General Manager (Research and Development) at the Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Limited (IFFCO), India, and visiting scientist at the Washington University in St. Louis, USA. Ramesh received his Ph.D. from the Central Arid Zone Research Institute of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research and his M.Sc. from the Department of Botany, Jai Narain Vyas University, India. Ramesh’s research expertise is in product and technology development with the aim of reducing fertilizer runoff while improving sustainable agriculture and he has invented processes for synthesizing novel inorganic and organic nanoforms for plant nutrition.


June 29 2021

Munir Rusan, Professor at Jordan University of Science and Technology (JUST) and Hillel Magen, VP Agronomy at ICL Fertilizers and Director at the International Potash institute (IPI) sat down with IFA Deputy Director-General, Patrick Heffer, about the benefits and potential of fertigation for improving nutrient and water use efficiency, increasing farmers’ incomes, growing crops on marginal land and ensuring consistently high yields.

About the guest speakers

Munir Rusan

Hillel Magen

Munir Rusan is Professor of Soil Fertility and Plant Nutrition at the Jordan University of Science and Technology, where he served as a Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture for several years. Munir Rusan worked previously as Consulting Director for the International Potash Institute and the International Plant Nutrition Institute.

Hillel Magen is Vice President of Agronomy at ICL Fertilizers, a company headquartered in Israel, that produces potash, phosphate and specialty fertilizers, including water-soluble fertilizers, an important fertilizer segment for fertigation. Hillel Magen is also Director of the International Potash Institute in Switzerland.


May 19 2021

Simon Attwood, former Head of Conservation at WWF Singapore, and IFA Chief Scientist, Achim Dobermann, explore the relationship between fertilizers and biodiversity. Discover how farming and fertilizers can affect biodiversity, the importance of sustainable intensification to help avoid land conversion and how nutrient management can protect biodiversity.

About the guest speakers

Dr Simon Attwood

Dr Achim Dobermann

Dr Simon Attwood is an expert in land conservation and management. He has helped to design and deliver the Australian Government’s Environmental Stewardship Program and more recently worked on projects in South East Asia and the Pacific to improve ecosystem services for rural community development and biodiversity conservation. Simon led the Ecological Intensification of Farming Systems team at Bioversity International, where he also co-developed the Agrobiodiversity Index, and was most recently Director of Conservation with WWF Singapore, where he worked on a range of conservation and sustainability challenges in South East Asia.

Dr Achim Dobermann is a soil scientist and agronomist with over 30 years work experience in all world regions. His main interests lie in science and technology solutions for food security and sustainable management of the world’s major agricultural systems. After completing leadership roles at Rothamsted Research and the International Rice Research Institute he now works as IFA’s Chief Scientist and in other strategic science advisory roles.

March 23 2021

Manish Raizada, Professor in the Department of Plant Agriculture, University of Guelph and Marcus Meadows-Smith, CEO of BioConsortia talk with IFA’s Deputy Director-General, Patrick Heffer, about the benefits and potential of Nitrogen-fixing microbials as a tool available to farmers to improve plant nutrition.

About the guest speakers

Manish N. Raizada

Meadows-Smith Marcus

Manish N. Raizada received his B.Sc. from the University of Western Ontario (Genetics) and Ph.D. from Stanford University (Plant Molecular Genetics). He held fellowship positions at The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre in Mexico City (Cereal Genomics) and at Caltech (Chemical Engineering). He is currently a Professor and the International Relations Officer in the Department of Plant Agriculture at the University of Guelph, Canada. The focus of the Raizada Lab is to develop low cost technologies that reduce the use of nitrogen fertilizers and pesticides to grow corn and other crops including legumes, replacing them with beneficial microbes and the use of biosensors, with a focus on North Ame rica, sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

Meadows-Smith Marcus holds a degree in Biological Sciences, Genetics from the University of Birmingham, United Kingdom and is a graduate of Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program. He is currently CEO of BioConsortia, a discoverer of microbial crop protection and crop enhancement products. Prior to that, he turned around the biopesticide business AgraQuest Inc. over a four-year timeframe, signing partnership agreements between a bio-ag company and several big agchemical giants, culminating in Marcus’ company being acquired by Bayer CropScience for over $400 million. Following Bayer’s acquisition of AgraQuest, he became head of biologics for Bayer CropScience. Previously, Meadows-Smith had a 14-year career at Chemtura Corporation.

February 15 2021

IFA Chief Scientist Dr. Achim Dobermann sat down with SPRPN Chair Dr. Tom Bruulsema and member Dr. Pytrik Reidsma to find out more about the New Paradigm, including some of the key issues the Panel identified that need better solutions, and some it's main objectives, from nutrient recovery and recycling to nutrition-sensitive agriculture.

About the guest speakers

Tom Bruulsema

Pytrik Reidsma

Tom Bruulsema Based in Guelph, Ontario, Canada, Tom Bruulsema is Chief Scientist with Plant Nutrition Canada, working with industry, environmental, and scientific groups to lead agricultural service providers in advancing sustainability. He has served for over 25 years with industry-supported science organizations, leading and contributing to projects on the interactions of crop nutrition with health-functional foods, greenhouse gas emissions, air quality, and eutrophication in Lake Erie. Recent achievements include contributions to nutrient stewardship certification programs in the United States and Canada, and to international initiatives in sustainable management of nitrogen and phosphorus.

Dr. Pytrik Reidsma is Associate Professor at Plant Production Systems, Wageningen University. Her work focuses on sustainability and resilience of farming systems. She has expertise in integrated assessment of agricultural systems, considering impacts on different dimensions of sustainable development (economic, environmental, social), considering different drivers (climate change, policy, markets, technological development), at multiple scales (crop, farm, region, continent; with a focus on the farm level), using a range of methods (statistical analyses, crop modelling, bio-economic farm modelling, Geographic Information Systems, agent-based modelling and participatory approaches).



November 24 2020

Listen to IFA Chief Scientist Dr. Achim Dobermann discuss biostimulants with guests Patrick du Jardin, Senior Scientist, Professor of Plant Biology, Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech, University of Liège, and Prem Warrior, Chief Operating Officer, Valagro, in IFA’s first ever podcast!

About the guest speakers

Patrick du Jardin

Prem Warrior

Professor Patrick du Jardin is Senior Scientist, Professor of Plant Biology at Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech, University of Liège since 1996, of which he was Dean of faculty in the period 2007-2009. He is an expert in plant physiology and nutrition and his current research is focused on the action of microbial and non-microbial biostimulants on crop plants. He was chairman of the scientific committee of the 4th world congress on the Agricultural uses of Biostimulants. Patrick has a long-standing expertise in the risk assessment of agricultural technologies and was vice-chair of the EFSA GMO panel between 2012 and 2015. He has also been a member of the ethics committee of the French Institutes INRA and Cirad.

Dr. Prem Warrior is the Chief Operating Officer at Valagro, a leading company in the biostimulants space. Previously, he was a Senior Regional Advisor on the Agricultural Development team at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Seattle. He concurrently served as a Senior Program Officer and the Team Leader for the Postharvest & Markets group at the Gates foundation. Prem has a PhD in Plant Pathology/Nematology and an MBA in general business. He has published more than 70 scientific peer-reviewed publications, has over 80 international patents and has been associated with the discovery and development of several agricultural products including insecticide, nematicide, plant growth regulators and biostimulants.