Sep 22, 2017
K+S Fertilizers (India) participated in the IPNI organized Conference on Advances in Potassium Research in New Delhi
Potassium awareness and its usage in India is relatively low across most parts of the country. It has been assumed that most of Indian soils are rich in Potash and therefore no need for Potash fertilizer application was applied in the past. But the continuous agricultural use of soils for more than six decades during green revolution has resulted in decline in soil K levels across various regions. Now it is getting reflected in stagnant yields and confirmed by recent soil test reports done under soil health initiative (Soil Health Card scheme). Not only the farmers but even the researchers are yet to be convinced about the need to replenish soil K with fertilizer application.
International organisations focus on potassium
To enhance knowledge exchange an International Conference on “Advances in potassium research for efficient soil and crop management” in New Delhi, India on 28-29 August, 2017 was organized by the International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI), The Fertiliser Association of India (FAI), Trust for Advancement of Agricultural Sciences (TAAS), International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT), Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), and ICAR-Indian Agricultural Research Institute (ICAR-IARI).
Support by K+S Fertilizers (India)
K+S Fertilizers (India) supported the conference and Dr. Joska Gerendas, Managing Director, held a presentation on the “Significance of potassium supply for quality of fruits and vegetables”. This was well appreciated by the audience, because it was the only presentation which pointed out the quality aspects on produce affected by K application. Dr. Surender Roperia, Head of Sales and Marketing, acted as a judge in one of the poster sessions.
The conference objectives
The conference focused on a better understanding of frontier research on potassium nutrient management and connected it to good agronomic practices for sustainable food security, soil health and climate smart agriculture. It helped to take stock of advancements in potassium science, frontier technologies, research gaps and extension needs.
Researchers reviewed potassium fertilizer best management practices in predominant production systems and ecologies and assessed their impact on crop yield, farm profitability, soil fertility and nutrient balances. It was suggested to revise the existing K recommendations in various crops across the country and use the information in the Soil Health Cards being issued by state governments covering almost all farmers.
Last but not least the conference exploited the opportunity to facilitate a dialogue on potash fertilizer policy in the context of evidence-based agronomy so as to develop strategies for sustainable potassium management especially in the context of future food and nutritional security, as well as climate change.
Minimising risk of abiotic stress
Apart from impact of K application on yield, the role of K in abiotic as well as biotic stress and crop quality was very well appreciated by the audience. As India is prone to frequent droughts specially in kharif season, K nutrition can help in mitigating abiotic stresses.