Crop Nutrition-Resilience to Harsh Environments
Bringing hope to small-scale farmers facing soil fertility mining, climate change and variability

Crop Nutrition-Resilience to Harsh Environments Impacts of increased droughts, soil fertility mining and salinity exacerbate existing food insecurity and vulnerability problems, and are serious threats to the production of major world food crops such as wheat, rice and maize. It is estimated that over 77M ha of land is devastated by drought, salinity and nutrient deficiencies that are brought about by long-term nutrient mining and climate change and variability. There is a need to increase resilience of current food production systems to soils with low fertility status and to impacts of climate change and variability (high temperatures, low rainfall and soil salinity).

Nuclear and isotopic (isotopes of carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus and oxygen) and related techniques can provide unique opportunity to evaluate improved crop genotypes under varying harsh conditions and identify integrated soil-water management practices for optimizing crop productivity without compromising on soil health and its sustainability. Using these technologies, soil scientists, plant nutritionists and plant breeding and genetic scientists work together to bring about solutions and hope to farmers in areas that are vulnerable to soil fertility and environmental stresses. Salt, drought and nutrient resilience crops are being developed by plant breeders.Crop Nutrition-Resilience to Harsh Environments They are then evaluated by soil scientists and plant scientists using nuclear and isotopic stated above. The evaluated crops are then grown in the field using good soil nutrient and water management packages that are tailor-made to local growing conditions.

Important links:

  • On-going Coordinated Research Projects (CRPs) on crop nutrition and resilience to harsh environments:
    CRP D1.50.10: Selection and evaluation of food (cereal and legume) crop genotypes tolerant to low nitrogen and phosphorus soils through the use of isotopic and nuclear-related techniques.