Leading Russian and foreign experts presented speeches and reports at an open international webinar on regulating cadmium levels in phosphate-based fertilizers to solve global challenges facing food systems and environmental safety in the 21st century. The discussion was moderated by Professor Vladimir Trukhachev, the University rector and member of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
In the form of a live dialogue, priority challenges and accumulated experience on environmental regulation and agroecological assessments of cadmium levels in phosphate-based fertilizers, food and soil were discussed to address the global challenges of food security and environmental safety in the 21st century.
Professor Trukhachev called the issues of food security and environmental safety the main challenges of our time, solutions to which are intended to ensure sustainable access for consumers to high-quality and environmentally friendly food. At the same time, the main source of food is agricultural production, the productivity of which is largely determined by the agroecological quality of soils and the fertilizers used on them.
“The rational use of high-quality fertilizers, taking into account their composition, the agroecological features of soils, the requirements of specific varieties of crops and the weather conditions during the growing season, makes it possible to obtain high yields of high quality with minimal environmental risks in a sustainable and cost-effective way”, said Professor Trukhachev.
According to the Professor, the activities of the World-class scientific centre “Agrotechnologies of the Future”, established at the University, are aimed at solving these problems. The centre develops framework agroecological models for the production process, intelligent decision support systems and IoT monitoring systems for problematic agroecological situations that are aimed at designing and quickly adjusting the best available agrotechnologies.
Professor Trukhachev expressed the hope that the conference, with the participation of Russian and foreign experts, would help minimise the environmental and economic risks of crop production, determine the necessary amount of phosphate-based fertilizers for the main types of crops, and facilitate the agroecologically sound regulation of cadmium levels in mineral fertilizers.
The Vice-Chair of the UN FAO’s International Network on Soil Pollution (INSOP), Dr Deyi Hou, noted that some producers’ phosphate-based fertilizers were the main source of cadmium contamination; therefore, farmers should opt for phosphate-based fertilizers that do not contain hazardous concentrations of cadmium in order to ensure soil health.
In turn, the Secretary of the FAO’s Global Soil Partnership (GPP), Ronald Vargas, stressed that the organisation recommends that farmers use only fertilizers that comply with the principles of sustainable land management, the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the International Code of Conduct for the Sustainable Use and Management of Fertilizers.
Oleg Kobyakov, Director of the FAO’s Liaison Office with the Russian Federation, drew attention to the Liaison Office’s close friendship and mutually beneficial partnership with the Timiryazev Academy. He also presented the International Code of Conduct for the Sustainable Use and Management of Fertilizers to the discussion participants.
The following individuals gave presentations at the forum:
Professor Riccardo Valentini, holder of an honorary doctorate from the Timiryazev Academy and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize; Dr Stefanos Fotiou, Director of the UN Food Systems Coordination Hub; Dr Ronald Vargas, Secretary of the FAO’s Global Soil Partnership; Dr Deyi Hou, Vice-Chair of the UN FAO’s International Network on Soil Pollution; Dr Vinisa Saynes Santillan, representative of the International Network on Fertilizer Analysis; Professor Vladimir Romanenkov, Head of the Agricultural and biological chemistry Department at the Moscow Lomonosov State University; Professor Ivan Vasenev, Head of the Ecology Department at the Russian State Agrarian University – Moscow Timiryazev Agricultural Academy; and others.
The forum was organised by the Russian State Agrarian University – Moscow Timiryazev Agricultural Academy, with the participation of leading Russian and foreign experts from the FAO’s Global Soil Partnership, the UN Food Systems Coordination Hub, the FAO’s Liaison Office with the Russian Federation, the Eurasian Soil Partnership, and major universities and specialised research institutions in Russia and foreign countries.