Asia-pacific network on Integrated Plant Nutrient Management (APIPNM)
Asian agriculture has undergone a notable transformation during the last four decades. Triggered primarily through the Green Revolution process, it was a science-led transformation that underpinned the pivotal role of science and modern technologies in meeting present and future challenges. Asian cereal production registered more than 260 per cent increase from 386 million tons in 1965 to 1009 thousand tons in 2004, with similar trend for other agricultural commodities.
However, along with this gleaming achievement, the transformation has also led to certain problems, mainly due to overlooking of certain basic concepts and practices and lack of appropriate information with the farmers. Some of the major developments as reported from various quarters are: declining trends in soil fertility and mining of soil nutrients; decline in soil organic matter levels, and; indiscriminate use of chemical fertilizers, their inefficient utilization and resulting environmental concerns.
As a way to strengthen awareness and improve common understanding of the complex dynamics of sustainable crop production, soil nutrient management and soil stability between and among scientists and land use practitioners in Asia-Pacific, FAO conducted a three day “Regional Workshop on Improving Plant Nutrient Management for Better Farmer Livelihoods, Food Security and Environmental Sustainability” in Beijing, China in 2005(Beijing workshop). Participants from 17 countries in the region discussed, elaborated on and identified country-relevant issues and gaps, and exchanged ideas and recommendations to collectively formulate technical and policy measures with particular focus on developing both country and regional options and actions for making Integrated Plant Nutrient Management (IPNM) the alternative technology for sustainable crop production and soil fertility management.
At the end of meeting, the participants collectively expressed interest in the immediate formulation of programme to support the implementation of South-South Cooperation to improve the transfer of knowledge and information and strengthen capacity building within Asia and the Pacific region; with the full support of China and FAO, likewise recommended the formation and implementation of the Asia-Pacific Network on IPNM for Food Security and Environmental Sustainability (APIPNM).
The network structure consists of a coordinating unit and participating countries or Consultative Board. Network Coordinating unit shall be comprised FAO officers and China representative, China Agriculture University will give Secretariat support to Co-coordinator unit. Participating Countries, who are interested in attending APIPNM, shall appoint their National Coordinators. National coordinator shall form Network Consultative Board (NCB) which serves as both the steering committee and the policy-forming body for APIPNM. The network aims to assist its member countries through a programme of information exchange, regional workshops, expert consultations and learning activities to enhance the skills and expertise of those responsible for the development and dissemination IPNM practices.