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Nutrient management tool wins award

February 12, 2014

By Sam Storr/CIMMYT

A tool developed by CIMMYT and the International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI) offering site-specific nutrient management (SSNM) advice to help farmers achieve higher yields more efficiently recently won an innovation award.

Nutrient ExpertTM decision support tools received the best innovation award in the information and communications technology category at the Bihar Innovation Forum II, which recognizes innovations to improve rural livelihoods in India. These tools were in development by CIMMYT and IPNI for five years and were launched in June 2013.

In South Asia, 90 percent of smallholder farmers do not have access to soil testing. The computer-based support tools aim to provide them with simple advice on how to get the most from fertilizer inputs. An IPNI study funded by the CGIAR Research Program on Maize (MAIZE CRP) Competitive Grant Initiative (CGI) found that farming practices and the resources available to farmers vary hugely in east India.

The cutting-edge value of Nutrient ExpertTM is that it offers specific information at the farm level, where it can provide the greatest benefits. Nutrient ExpertTM is especially relevant because it was developed through dialogue and participation with stakeholders, which also raises awareness and eventual adoption by users.

It is now used by the Indian National Agricultural Research System and is a key intervention used by the CRP on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) in its Climate Smart Villages. The Nutrient ExpertTM approach is also being applied to maize and wheat in other areas of Southeast Asia, China, Kenya and Zimbabwe.