August 03, 2015 / Week N° 32

Costa Rica aims to cut fertilizer use

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September 10th, 2013

Costa Rica may lose its crown as the biggest fertilizer user in Central America, thanks to a government bid to reduce emissions of the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide. soil 1

With agriculture contributing 40% of Costa Rica’s greenhouse gas emissions, the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG) plans to introduce measures that will cut agricultural emissions by 77%, website Nacion.com reported.

In 2009, the country used 91.8 metric tons (MT) of fertilizer per 1,000 hectares of agricultural land, which is 57% than the second highest user Belize (58.3MT) and close to double the level of El Salvador (47.1MT).

According to a government report, the crops that emit the highest levels of nitrous oxide in Costa Rica are sugarcane (27.8%), bananas (19.3%), coffee (13.7%) and pineapples (8.2%).

As part of the measures to reduce emissions, the Ministry of Environment’s (Minae) Department of Climate Change has designed a set of Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMA) that will apply to the coffee, sugarcane and livestock industries.

In terms of coffee, slow-release fertilizers will be used along with the practice of soil and leaf analysis to determine how much fertilizer use is necessary.

“There are other measures, like promoting agroforestry and forestry systems that are carbon capture banks, which we must make the most of with good management,” Vice Minister Tania López was quoted as saying.

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