About the Virtual Fertilizer Research Center

This VFRC Update for the period 2010-2015 describes the fundamentals for a systems change toward innovative fertilizers.

It provides a comprehensive overview of VFRC’s evolution over the past 5 years towards our conceptual thinking, accumulating scientific evidence and actions to build our Center. VFRC takes this opportunity to thank its many partners for their support to continue to build this institution.

The Current Global Situation

The United Nations Population Division estimates that the global population is more than 7.2 billion and could reach 10 billion (FAO high fertility estimate) by 2050. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the number of hungry people in the world totals nearly one billion. More than 840 million of these are undernourished. These numbers were growing steadily before the food crisis of 2008 and the subsequent global price hikes in food, feed, fuel and fertilizer, have further worsened the situation. It is our responsibility to ensure that these people can enjoy the human right of food security, and more than that, nutritional security.

The role of fertilizers is a key to future food security – about half of the world’s population is alive today because of increased food production fueled by mineral fertilizers. But over the past 35 years, no “new” more substantially efficient fertilizer product has been developed. New products are needed to help farmers grow more nutritious food more efficiently and affordably, particularly in developing nations. New and improved fertilizers and agricultural practices and systems are critical to help feed the world’s growing population, provide sustainable global food production and protect the environment.

The Concept of the VFRC

The Virtual Fertilizer Research Center (VFRC) was created in 2010, as a semi-autonomous unit of IFDC, to fast-track the development of a new generation of rapidly deployable technologies that will enable responsible and sustainable food security, particularly in the world’s developing regions. Utilizing the most advanced knowledge and technology available, the Center is partnering with a global network of scientists, research institutions, private enterprises and entrepreneurs to conduct coordinated research under a unified technology agenda. Researchers are engaged through their existing institutions, making use of their current laboratory facilities, and avoiding the prohibitive expense of gathering all the scientists and equipment needed in a single location. Working with its partner network in a virtual setting, the science-based, global Center is creating the environment and platform that will allow rapid and affordable technology dissemination into the world market.