African Researcher Dr. André Bationo Recognized for His Work on Soil Fertility Restoration and Balanced Fertilization.
André Bationo’s research has shown that nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) are the most limiting nutrients in the Sudano-Sahelian zone of Africa and that fertilizer use efficiency in this region can be improved through proper placement and combination with organic inputs. Technologies on the use of rock phosphate crop residues and cattle manure have also resulted in improved crop yield, soil fertility and reduced cost of production among smallholder farmers in the Sudano-Sahelian zone.
He has contributed to about 300 scientific scientific publications. In collaboration with researchers at the International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) , the International Center for Soil Fertility and Agricultural Development (IFDC) and universities, André Bationo pioneered the development of the fertilizer microdose technology in West Africa to reduce the risk of crop failure. Farmers adopting this technology have been able to record yield increases of 50 to 100 per cent. In Niger, for example, 5,000 farm households in twenty pilot sites adopted fertilizer microdosing in just three years. The technology has subsequently been adopted in Mali, Burkina Faso, Senegal and many more other African countries.
In an effort to link farmers to markets, André Bationo’s research has also encouraged the adoption of the Inventory Credit System (ICS) and a revolving fund to remove the barriers to the adoption of soil fertility restoration technologies. The combination of the appropriate localized soil fertility improvement technologies, post-harvest credit and storage of grain as collateral (“warrantage”), enabling farmers to sell crops later in the season for higher prices and higher profits, has helped farmers in Niger produce 50 per cent more food, increase their farm incomes while protecting their natural resources.
André Bationo has integrated both on-station and on-farm research using participatory approaches to ensure that new technologies suit the socio-economic and biophysical conditions in which farmers live and work. His most recent focus has been on Integrated Soil Fertility Management (ISFM), in particular on the development and refinement of soil fertility improvement technologies involving the use of inorganic fertilizers, animal manures, grain legumes, agroforestry options, integrated nutrient management options, and soil, water and nutrient conservation.
Dr. Bationo is the 18th recipient of the Award, but the first African. He was nominated by Industries Chimiques du Sénégal (ICS) . He graduated from Laval University in Canada with a PhD in Soil Chemistry and has then been involved in research and programme management for the past 25 years. His last two positions were at the Tropical Soil Biology and Fertility Institute of the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (TSBF-CIAT) in Nairobi, Kenya as Coordinator of the African Network for Soil Biology and Fertility (AfNet), and previously at IFDC in Niamey, Niger working in joint IFDC-ICRISAT research projects.
The International Fertilizer Association (IFA) grants every year the IFA International Crop Nutrition Award for research that has led to significant advances in crop nutrition and that has been communicated successfully to the farmers in the form of practical recommendations.