Teck Resources and China’s National Agricultural Technology Extension Service Centre (NATESC) have signed an agreement to jointly demonstrate and promote the use of zinc fertilizer.

Teck, one of the world’s largest producers of zinc, says zinc deficiency is a global problem that has serious impacts on agricultural production and human health, with almost half a million children around the world dying each year as a result. In China, 60% of arable land is classified as zinc-deficient, with critical conditions in many dry areas. Zinc deficient soil can result in stunted crop growth and the inefficient uptake of essential nutrients.

“Teck is committed to raising awareness about the devastating impacts of zinc deficiency and helping solve this global health issue,” said Teck’s president Don Lindsay. “Working with NATESC we can increase the use of zinc fertilizers in China to significantly improve crop yields, reduce zinc deficiency and ultimately improve human health.”

The centre has conducted more than 40 field trials of zinc fertilizer in China, in partnership with the International Zinc Association. These trials have demonstrated increases in crop yields and brought positive economic returns to farmers.

The Teck and NATESC partnership has funded $500,000 for a further 50 field trial demonstration projects and the promotion of education on the benefits of zinc fertilizer.

NATESC party secretary Hang Dapeng says, “We are delighted to be working together with Teck, and hope that further trial and demonstration will guide farmers to use zinc fertilizer, lead fertilizer producers to develop zinc fertilizer products, cultivate and strengthen the zinc fertilizer industry, and promote the production and application of zinc fertilizer to meet the demands of Chinese agricultural production. Zinc fertilizer will become an important section in developing water-saving agriculture, fertilizer recommendation program and development strategy of fertilizer producers.”

Teck’s ‘Zinc and Health’ program includes partnerships with UNICEF, Free the Children, The Micronutrient Initiative and the Government of Canada.

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