China: Controlled-Release Fertilizer and the Agroecological Environment

China, which has as much arable land as India, is set to achieve fertilizer self-sufficiency within a couple of years as it has continuously acquired assets in Africa and Latin America and is now about 90 per cent self-sufficient. But the current use of fertilizers in China is highly unbalanced. N use exceeds N removal by crops, P use and P removal appear to be in the same order of magnitude but K removal exceeds by far the use of mineral potash fertilizers.

Pilot programs of promoting the controlled-release fertilizer have been expanded to more than 20 provinces, compared with five in 2008, the NAESC, a department under the Ministry of Agriculture, said recently at a seminar held in the northeastern province of Jilin.

The move is aimed at reducing pollution caused by the excessive use of fertilizer to protect the environment and save energy, the NAESC said.

The controlled-release fertilizer is an energy efficient fertilizer to synchronize fertilizer release with crop absorption according to the preset program.

NAESC director Xia Jingyuan said the use of controlled-release fertilizer can help increase agricultural production by 5 percent to 10 percent on average, or as much as by 30 percent.

Last year, China’s grain output rose 2.9 percent year on year to 546.41 million tonnes.

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