Soil and Water Management & Crop Nutrition

Soil and Water Management & Crop Nutrition

The Soil and Water Management and Crop Nutrition (SWMCN) Section of the Joint FAO/IAEA Programme and its associated SWMCN Laboratory assist FAO and IAEA Member States in the development, validation and dissemination of a range of soil, water and crop management technology packages through the use of nuclear and nuclear-related techniques.

The aims are:
→ To enhance agricultural productivity, ensure the conservation of soil and water resources for sustainable crop and livestock production systems and to improve farmers' livelihoods.
→ To improve soil quality and soil resilience against impacts of climate change and variability.
→ To reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase soil carbon sequestration in both productive and marginal lands.

To achieve these aims, we assist Member States through research and development (R&D), capacity building with a major emphasis on training the trainers, policy advice, technology transfer and technical support and assistance via Coordinated Research Projects (CRPs) and Technical Cooperation Projects (TCPs).

Highlights
Combatting Soil Erosion to Help Achieve Zero Hunger and Clean Water: IAEA Commemorates World Soil Day Combatting Soil Erosion to Help Achieve Zero Hunger and Clean Water: IAEA Commemorates World Soil Day. Over 45 billion tons of soil are lost to erosion every year. Farmers and agricultural authorities in several countries have succeeded in slowing down erosion with the help of nuclear techniques. Read More »
Nuclear Techniques Help Reveal High Rate of Soil Erosion in Benin Nuclear Techniques Help Reveal High Rate of Soil Erosion in Benin. Harmless traces from nuclear testing more than half a century ago are helping researchers assess soil erosion rates. Read More »
From Field to Table: Nuclear Techniques Toward Zero Hunger From Field to Table: Nuclear Techniques Toward Zero Hunger. Food insecurity — the lack of regular access to nutritious and sufficient food — affects around 2 billion people worldwide, particularly those in low- and middle-income countries. Read More »
Fighting Air Pollution with a $1 Tool Fighting Air Pollution with a $1 Tool. A simple new device that costs less than US$1 to make could help global efforts to reduce harmful air pollution caused by ammonia emissions, while improving access to food. Read More »
Supporting the Sustainable Management of Water Resources in Colombia Supporting the Sustainable Management of Water Resources in Colombia. Sediments are finely-grained particles, sometimes produced as a by-product of weathering and soil erosion, but often the result of human activities. Read More »
Tripling Cassava Yields with the Help of Nuclear Science: IAEA Commemorates World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought Tripling Cassava Yields with the Help of Nuclear Science: IAEA Commemorates World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought. Seeing is believing, and when neighbouring farmers visit Theogene Ntakarutimana’s cassava farm in central Burundi, on what is increasingly arid terrain, they are often speechless. Read More »
New IAEA Publication - Use of Laser Carbon Dioxide Carbon Isotope Analysers in Agriculture New IAEA Publication - Use of Laser Carbon Dioxide Carbon Isotope Analysers in Agriculture. Climate-smart agriculture is reorienting agricultural systems to address the intertwined challenges of food security and climate change. Read More »
World Water Day: IAEA Project Strengthens Control of Water Quality in the Zamora River, Ecuador World Water Day: IAEA Project Strengthens Control of Water Quality in the Zamora River, Ecuador. Southeast Ecuador is home to a constellation of copper and gold mines, which have sustained economic activity in the region for decades. Read More »
World Water Day: IAEA Projects Strengthen Access to Resources, Using Isotope Hydrology World Water Day: IAEA Projects Strengthen Access to Resources, Using Isotope Hydrology. Each year, on 22 March, World Water Day focuses public attention on the value of water and the importance of access. Read More »
Drought-tolerant Crops to Contribute to Food Security in Namibia Drought-tolerant Crops to Contribute to Food Security in Namibia. Farmers in Namibia now have new crop varieties of cowpea and sorghum that are more tolerant to drought and pests planted this year, thanks to nuclear technology provided with the support of the IAEA and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Read More »
Nuclear Technology Helps Develop New Barley Variety in Kuwait Nuclear Technology Helps Develop New Barley Variety in Kuwait. Kuwait—New home-grown barley varieties developed using irradiation with the support of the IAEA and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) are in the final stages of development and will be ready to be released to farmers for production in coming years. Read More »
Staying Climate-Smart: Coordination Meeting on Enhancing Crop Nutrition and Soil and Water Management in Africa Held in Vienna Staying Climate-Smart: Coordination Meeting on Enhancing Crop Nutrition and Soil and Water Management in Africa Held in Vienna. Counterparts and representatives of 16 IAEA African Member States gathered at the Agency’s Vienna headquarters from 8 to 12 October 2018 to discuss the work plan to implement climate-smart agricultural technologies to strengthen the resilience of smallholder farmers to climate change. Read More »
World Soil Day: How Can Nuclear Techniques Be the Solution to Soil Pollution and Increased Productivity? World Soil Day: How Can Nuclear Techniques Be the Solution to Soil Pollution and Increased Productivity? Pollution in soil can be invisible to the naked eye, but it can affect our food and water resources and even the air we breathe. Read More »
Drip Irrigation Saves Water and Improves Crop Yields in Mauritania Drip Irrigation Saves Water and Improves Crop Yields in Mauritania. Water scarcity, high temperatures and sandy soils have been a problem for farmers, especially women farmers, in Mauritania trying to grow vegetables under harsh conditions to feed their families and sell at local markets. Read More »
Egypt and Senegal Receive Gamma Detectors to Help Combat Soil Erosion Egypt and Senegal Receive Gamma Detectors to Help Combat Soil Erosion. Experts in Egypt and Senegal will be better able to fight soil erosion thanks to two gamma spectroscopy detectors which have just been delivered through the IAEA's technical cooperation programme. Read More »
Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Agriculture With the Help of Nuclear Techniques Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Agriculture With the Help of Nuclear Techniques. Farmers are increasingly using sustainable agricultural methods to boost productivity while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Read More »
Using Nuclear Techniques to Combat Climate Change and Improve Crop Yields Using Nuclear Techniques to Combat Climate Change and Improve Crop Yields Farmers in Argentina, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Kenya and Uruguay are increasing crop yields and enhancing the fertility and quality of the soil in an environmentally friendly, cost-effective way – thanks to the results of an IAEA coordinated research project recently concluded in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Read More »
Farmers in Brazil Use Legumes to Reduce Costs, Greenhouse Gas Emissions Farmers in Brazil Use Legumes to Reduce Costs, Greenhouse Gas Emissions. Brazilian farmers are working with nuclear scientists to utilize organic farming techniques to increase their productivity while at the same time reducing their carbon emissions in a project coordinated by the IAEA in cooperation with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Read More »
NEW CRP: Multiple Isotope Fingerprints to Identify Sources and Transport of Agro-Contaminants (D15018) NEW CRP: Multiple Isotope Fingerprints to Identify Sources and Transport of Agro-Contaminants (D15018). The IAEA, in cooperation with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), is launching a new coordinated research project to help address the global challenge of agricultural contaminants. Read More »
Argentina Applies Nuclear Technology to Water Argentina Applies Nuclear Technology to Water. In Argentina, like in many parts of the world, water is at risk of over-exploitation and contamination. To protect it, scientists are studying its most invisible details with the help of nuclear technology and the support of the IAEA. Read More »
'How to Win a Fight Against Soil Erosion: Nuclear Science Helps Farmers in Morocco.  How to Win a Fight Against Soil Erosion: Nuclear Science Helps Farmers in Morocco. Farmer El Haj Abdeslam and his three helpers spent years fighting soil erosion that swept away their crops’ fertile ground, taking their incomes with it. Read More »
$600k OPEC-Fund Grant to Promote Use of Nuclear Techniques for Improved Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture $600k OPEC-Fund Grant to Promote Use of Nuclear Techniques for Improved Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture. Improved farming practices, healthier animals and – ultimately – increased food security will be the outcomes of projects supported by a US$ 600 000 grant by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Fund for International Development (OFID) under a partnership with the IAEA signed last week. Read More »
Costa Rica Paves the Way for Climate-Smart Agriculture Costa Rica Paves the Way for Climate-Smart Agriculture. While the Happy Planet Index ranks Costa Rica first in the world for environmentally-friendly practices, the country is also the world’s number one producer of fertilizer-hungry pineapples. Read More »
World Soil Day: Caring for the Planet Starts from the Ground and Nuclear Techniques can Help World Soil Day: Caring for the Planet Starts from the Ground and Nuclear Techniques can Help. Erosion threatens soil resources worldwide. Nuclear science offers wasy to study and protect this finite, non-renewable resource. Read More »
Area-wide Measurements of Soil Water Improve Management of Scarce Water Resources in Agriculture Area-wide Measurements of Soil Water Improve Management of Scarce Water Resources in Agriculture . Global climate change and population growth are increasing pressure on agricultural systems and water resources. Read More »
Stable Nitrogen Isotopes and Low-Cost Irrigation Technologies Help Scientists Optimize Crop and Water Productivity in Cameroon Stable Nitrogen Isotopes and Low-Cost Irrigation Technologies Help Scientists Optimize Crop and Water Productivity in Cameroon. Scientists, field and laboratory technicians from Cameroon have been trained to carry out field trials to identify crops with high biological nitrogen fixation, and high nitrogen and water use, during a two-week course in Yaoundé. Read More »
Isotopic Technique Helps Benin Farmers Triple Yields and Improve Livelihoods Isotopic Technique Helps Benin Farmers Triple Yields and Improve Livelihoods. Poor soil fertility was a major factor hindering farmers in Benin to produce good crops. Chemical fertilizers are too expensive to afford. The inclusion of legumes such as soybean and groundnuts that helps to capture nitrogen from the air, have helped farmers triple their yields. Read More »
Cambodian Researchers Use Isotopic Technique to Help Farmers Increase Yields and Revenues Cambodian Researchers Use Isotopic Technique to Help Farmers Increase Yields and Revenues. Poorer farmers who cannot afford to buy enough fertilizer can achieve high yields by using more manure and compost and planting alternative crops between rice growing seasons, Cambodia’s agricultural researchers have found. Their recommendations are the result of research supported by the IAEA and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), using nuclear-related techniques to measure fertilizer and water uptake by rice and other crops. Read More »
Amid obstacles, Central African Republic Opts for Progress with Nuclear Technology Amid obstacles, Central African Republic Opts for Progress with Nuclear Technology. After years of insecurity and internal strife, authorities and scientists from the Central African Republic are again turning to nuclear and nuclear-related techniques for development. From increasing soil fertility to developing improved plant varieties and understanding their water resources, they are now picking up speed. Read More »
Benin Farmers Inoculate Their Legumes to Improve Soil Fertility and Yield Benin Farmers Inoculate Their Legumes to Improve Soil Fertility and Yield. The farmers of Benin constantly struggle with poor soil fertility which requires them to use expensive fertilizers in order to have a good crop yield – fertilizers that they often cannot afford. But now, through work supported by the Joint FAO/IAEA Division, more than 5 000 farmers have been trained to improve their soil fertility by inoculating their legume crops – inoculating them with a dose of bacteria needed to facilitate the process of nitrogen fixation. Read More »
Stable Nitrogen Isotope Helps Scientists Optimize Water, Fertilizer Use Stable Nitrogen Isotope Helps Scientists Optimize Water, Fertilizer Use. Experts in a growing number of countries are using a nuclear technique to help farmers increase crop yields, optimize fertilizer use and evaluate varieties of rice, cereals and vegetables for their efficiency in making the best use of fertilizers and adapt agriculture practices to changing climate conditions. Read More »
World Soil Day: Madagascar Combats Soil Erosion with Tradition and Nuclear Science World Soil Day: Madagascar Combats Soil Erosion with Tradition and Nuclear Science. An age-old agricultural method is helping to combat soil degradation and protect a source of food and income for more than 75% of the population in Madagascar. Using isotopic techniques, scientists working with the IAEA, in cooperation with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), found that traditional terrace farming can reduce soil erosion and run-off on mountainous land by up to 40%. Read More »
Improving Sudan’s Vegetable Production with Small-scale Irrigation Technologies Improving Sudan’s Vegetable Production with Small-scale Irrigation Technologies. Agriculture is the principal source of income and livelihoods for 60 to 80 percent of the population of Sudan, where 90 percent of arable land is rainfed. Climate change and rainfall variability, water scarcity and the inaccessibility of other water sources regularly contribute to crop failures. Women farmers in the Kassala region, the breadbasket of Sudan, are now introducing family-scale drip irrigation systems to overcome water stress and to ensure a more sustainable vegetable production. Read More »

Previous Highlights