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Teck and World Food Programme partner to provide zinc-enriched fertilizer

Published by , Assistant Editor
World Fertilizer,

Teck Resources Limited has announced a partnership with the World Food Programme (WFP) to fund and launch a new US$3 million pilot programme aimed at improving the health, and economic opportunities of small-scale farmers in China’s Gansu Province.

The programme seeks to reduce zinc deficiency and improve the quality of farmers’ potato crops by providing zinc-enriched fertilizer, training, and support in innovative agricultural practices.

While zinc is essential to human health, a 2012 study in China estimates that 35% of the population does not get enough zinc in their diet, which can affect healthy growth and brain development.

For the pilot programme, WFP will work with the Chinese government to reach 10 000 farmers over a three-year period to improve their crops and economic opportunities, as well as the nutrition of about 30 000 people expected to purchase potatoes in local markets. Gansu Province was chosen for the project because nearly 80% of its arable land is deficient in zinc. The project will be studied and documented in collaboration with a research institute to determine how it can be replicated and scaled up within China and in other countries with zinc deficiency.

“The support that Teck is bringing to the World Food Programme will make a huge impact, helping WFP go beyond what we could do alone,” says WFP Executive Director David Beasley. “Teck’s multiyear support will not only help farmers in Gansu Province, it will help us better understand how to tackle zinc deficiency in other parts of the world.”

“Through our Zinc & Health programme, Teck has been working for years to help address the global challenge of zinc deficiency and support stronger communities,” says Don Lindsay, President & CEO, Teck. “We are pleased to build on our previous support of the World Food Programme through this innovative new initiative, which could be expanded to help create lasting health and economic benefits in jurisdictions around the world.”

The pilot programme runs from 2019 until 2022 and will include the establishment of two demonstration field sites. At these fields, farmers will receive training on fertilizers and agricultural practices as well as education on zinc and nutrition. The Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and the National Agricultural Technology Extension Service Centre  (NATESC) are partners in this programme. Since 2012, Teck has worked with NATESC on a programme to improve nutrition by increasing the use of zinc-enriched fertilizer in China.

The project contributes to UN Sustainable Development Goal 2: “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture” and China’s national target of nutrition improvement and poverty reduction as outlined in China's 13th Five-Year Plan.

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