The laureate of the 2010 IFA Norman Borlaug Award for excellence in crop nutrition knowledge transfer is Dr. Jiyun Jin of the Soil and Fertilizer Institute at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS).
Since 1985, Dr. Jin has been working on ways to improve soil fertility and fertilizer management practices in order to increase crop productivity and farmers’ incomes in China. He is currently Professor of Plant Nutrition and Fertilization at CAAS, President of the Chinese Society of Plant Nutrition and Fertilizer Sciences, and Director of the China Programme of the International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI).
Dr. Jin realized that China’s large number of poorly educated farmers, cultivating small-sized plots, represent a great challenge in regard to the transfer of good fertilization practices. Together with his group, he attempts to address the knowledge gap between agronomic research, extension services and farmers’ practices. Much of Dr. Jin’s work has been devoted to developing knowledge transfer tools that can be used to pass the results of laboratory research on to farmers.
Some of the advanced technologies and scientific tools he has developed to improve fertilizer use efficiency and crop production are:
- Site-specific nutrient management for small-scale farms
- Use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for precision nutrient management
- Web-based fertilizer recommendation programmes
The technologies developed by Dr. Jin have been widely disseminated, including through field demonstrations, farmers’ meetings, field inspection activities, brochures, leaflets, videos, TV, radio, posters and web sites. A television series on soil fertility management he developed was distributed through the China Central Agricultural Broadcasting School and CCTV agricultural channel. It is estimated that more than 400 million farmers are being influenced by these activities in support of technology transfer. Field trials indicate that balanced fertilization technology can increase farmers’ incomes by between 800 and 1,800 Yuan/ha (118 to 265 US$/ha) for grain crops, and by between 2,000 and 20,000 Yuan/ha (295 to 2,950 US$/ha) for cash crops.
Dr. Jin is the 19th recipient of the Award, and the fourth Chinese national. He was nominated by SINOFERT and selected by an independent jury. He graduated from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 1985 with a PhD in soil science. He also received an M.S. in plant nutrition from the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences. Dr. Jin has accepted the Award at the Opening Session of the IFA Annual Conference on Tuesday, 1 June in Paris.
As part of its work to promote research on efficient, balanced and environment-friendly fertilization, every year since 1993, IFA has designated a recipient of the IFA International Crop Nutrition Award for research that has led to significant advances in crop nutrition. Consistent with its current emphasis on last-mile delivery, IFA recognizes that research alone is not enough to achieve meaningful progress at the farm level. Effective knowledge transfer is needed for the wider adoption of improved nutrient management practices. In that connection, IFA has decided to recognize individuals who have made outstanding contributions to last-mile delivery. This is IFA’s first attempt to recognize excellence in crop nutrition knowledge transfer. The IFA International Crop Nutrition Award was renamed the IFA Norman Borlaug Award in 2010, in recognition of Dr. Borlaug’s outstanding and tireless contribution to fighting hunger throughout the world.