The HarvestZinc Fertilizer Project has been developed under HarvestPlus Program in three Phases. The first 2 Phases lasted for 6 years, from 2008 to 2014. The 3rd Phase of the project was started on 1st of January 2015 and expected to take 3 years.
In the period of 2008 to 2014, the project had accomplished its objectives and produced novel results and insights of practical relevance and importance. The results reveal the feasibility of the fertilizer strategy and its vast potential in alleviating zinc (Zn) deficiency and positively impact on human health. Hence, it has been decided to continue this highly promising fertilizer project due to its great potential to create large short and longer term practical impacts and contribute to and complement the "biofortification concept" in selected target countries.
The new Phase of the project will also include foliar tests with iodine because very little information is available on the role of iodine fertilizer strategy in improving grain iodine concentration in cereal crops such as rice and wheat.
The project will explore and test newly developed Zn- or iodine- containing fertilizers to improve the Zn and iodine concentrations of wheat and rice grown in China, India, Thailand, Pakistan, South Africa and Brazil. Additionally, following topics will be studied in the 3rd Phase of the project:
- Characterize response of newly developed high Zn lines from HarvestPlus breeding program to soil and foliar application of Zn and other micronutrients.
- Role of cocktail application of various micronutrients in biofortification of rice and wheat with micronutrients
- Understand differential response of wheat and maize to foliar Zn fertilization, and
- Promote and create awareness to facilitate the adoption of the fertilizer strategy at the farmer and policy maker levels