Scientific Council of “PUŁAWY” Competences Center
Another meeting of the Scientific Council of “PUŁAWY” Competences Center was held on May 22nd 2013. One of the topics was the content of the speech at “Fertilizers and Nutrients for Growth” European Fertilizers Forum organized by Fertilizers Europe in Brussels.
In the opinion of the Members of the Scientific Council of the Center, the stance on the matter ought to follow the premises of “EUROPE 2020” Strategy. The European Commission points at the need to “increase the efficiency and competitiveness of EU agriculture, increase the effectiveness of using resources with lower consumption of water, energy, fertilizers (mainly P and N) as well as pesticides”. However, FAO forecasts that demand for food will have increased by 70% to 2050. It is therefore indispensable to research and implement technologies of rational use of fertilizers with a view to optimize the use of natural resources and energy. At the same time, we need to protect the competitive edge of EU economy using the following tools:
• creating legal and financial instruments for leveling the economic differences between EU regions as well as acquiring and use of resources for fertilizer production,
• maintaining the capacities of fertilizer production so as to secure resources necessary for food manufacturing,
• focusing the development of the production of fertilizers and fertilizing systems on innovative, knowledge-based solutions.
How to support Polish agriculture?
Members of the Council agreed that during conversations with EU partners we ought to emphasize the specific soil and climatic conditions in Poland. It is essential to strive for the launch of instruments supporting Polish agriculture, such as subsidies for de-acidification of soil and liming.
World population continues to grow. It is forecast to reach 9 billion in 2050, while the acreage of arable land will not have increased. Rational use of water and nitrogen is of prime importance. In Poland the consumption of those elements ought to be increased. Auxiliary elements, such as potassium, phosphorus and magnesium, also have an impact on efficiency. Rational use of those ingredients needs to be secured. The demand for nutrients in key stages of growth of the plant in the critical stage of growth ought to be specified precisely.
Climate change and the natural environment
More frequent extreme weather phenomena and poor use of nourishing elements in fertilizers, as well as related environmental concerns necessitate changes of fertilizing technology. A solution might be direct application of fertilizers into the soil during sowing, with progressive, gradual release of nutrients in the period of vegetation.
A number of other issues was discussed:
• The worst soils ought not to be cultivated anymore,
• Content of humus in the soil needs to be increased, e.g. by incorporation of biomass, which is the best method of carbon sequestration in the soil,
• Qualifications and skills of agricultural managers should be stressed more frequently,
• Resources form waste ought to be recycled and reused efficiently,
• In the opinion of Polish scientists, production of renewable energy, and mass shift towards energy crops is very dangerous. The role of biomass in energy production cannot be overestimated.