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18 May 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 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.