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Nutrient Stewardship Commitments

Nutrient stewardship refers to the efficient and effective planning and management of plant nutrients in a manner that improves the social, economic and environmental performance of mineral and organic fertilizers.

Closely aligned to IFA’s Mission to “promote the efficient and responsible production, distribution and use of plant nutrients”, the IFA Nutrient Stewardship Commitments reaffirm the overarching goal of IFA members to help farmers to improve nutrient use efficiency and effectiveness, in order to optimize plant nutrient uptake and minimize nutrient losses to the environment.


Greater knowledge outreach to farmers.

Supporting greater outreach to farmers (through advisory services* and/or information material) to improve farmers’ knowledge of fertilizer best management practices and access to customized (site- and crop-specific and real-time) recommendations on product types and application (rate, time, and place).


Research to improve fertilizer management practices.

Supporting research to improve fertilizer management practices consistent with the principles of nutrient stewardship- to develop site- and crop-specific fertilizer recommendations.


Innovation in plant nutrition solutions.

Supporting innovation in the field of plant nutrition solutions to provide farmers and their advisors with options to enhance nutrient management performance, including fertilizer products, analytical and decision-making support tools, precision farming, and biologicals.


Dialogue and partnership stakeholders.

Engaging in dialogue and partnership with stakeholders including policymakers, scientists, extension agencies, farmers’ organizations, civil society and the food value chain- to identify challenges, gaps in knowledge, common priorities and develop joint projects to promote improved nutrient stewardship.


Implementing principles of nutrient stewardship.

Implementing the widely-agreed principles of nutrient stewardship** to support efficient and effective use of plant nutrients, which encompass the principles of balanced fertilization and integrated plant nutrient management.


Documenting nutrient management performance.

Where appropriate, documenting their efforts to enhance nutrient management performance -developing metrics, monitoring and reporting their progress over time through the implementation of the principles of nutrient stewardship- with a view towards identifying priority areas for action.

* IFA Members without in-house fertilizer retail activities are advised to verify whether their downstream customers will pass on nutrient stewardship advice to farmers.

** Nutrient Stewardship is defined as the efficient and effective use of plant nutrients to achieve economic, social and environmental benefits with engagement from farmers and other stakeholders. It encompasses the use of best management practices in the four areas of nutrient management, i.e. using the right nutrient source(s) at the right rate, at the right time, in the right place (known as the “4Rs”).