December 17, 2014

Growing in China

Yara China's second ever training seminar is now set to be an annual event, designed to build the confidence and competence of Yara's local agronomists.
Growing in China
Growing in China

Guangzhou is the third-largest Chinese city, and the capital and largest city of Guangdong province in south-central China. Guangdong province has a humid subtropical climate, nearing a tropical climate in the far south. These conditions require specific agronomic approaches, to ensure that proper use of fertilizer leads to higher and better quality yields.

Unique challenges

The Guangzhou event brought together 26 Yara staff, including a range of internal experts, and four external specialists, in fields ranging from zinc to earth photography.

"The seminar was an opportunity for our agronomists to hone skills ranging from safety awareness and driving education, to agronomy and brand awareness," says Yara’s Chief Agronomist in Asia Nathan Price. "It is also an opportunity for our agronomists to present some of the work they have been doing in the previous year."

Training topics included Zinc nutrition, Fertigation, Best practice demo plots, anti-counterfeiting skills, and photography techniques. Citrus, Sugarcane, Strawberry and Ginger were the crops in focus. The market in China poses unique challenges.

"Aging farmers is a serious problem in China," says Agronomy Supervisor Xianyou Chen. "This, combined with a lack of sufficient technical and scientific knowledge, makes it difficult to change their practices."

"On the other hand, Yara China's agronomy team is quite young and needs to develop their practical experience, and continuously need to strengthen their knowledge in order to improve their ability to provide practical guidance," Chen adds.

Yara’s long history in China

"The main challenge is moving farmers towards balanced fertilization," says Nathan. "There has been a history of over-fertilization and a focus on NPKs without much attention on secondary or micronutrients. As a result of this, there are examples where crops are exhibiting nutrient deficiency symptoms, which is translating into both yield and quality losses."

Although a lot of cheap urea flows into the Chinese market, demand for Yara fertilizers is high. "This is due to our long history - over 100 years - in China, and our strong, reputable brand in the market," Nathan explains. "China represents the second largest market for Yara Asia and demand is set to continue for high quality, compound fertilizers."

"For the future of Yara in China, we have a strong brand position, a unique marketing and sales approach with Yara Crop Nutrition, and high quality and innovative products," says China Country Manager Kim Huat.

"So, despite strong competition from local and other imported products, we are confident that we will be able to continue to grow our sales volume in China," he adds. "There are still several unexplored markets with potential for nitrate-based NPKs, fertigation and micronutrient products, which we will focus on in the coming years."