1st International Workshop on Alternative Potash (IWAP)


Maintaining an adequate balance of agricultural nutrients in soils is a key task to accomplish global food security. Potash, which is one of such nutrients, is currently supplied to soils in the form of soluble salts. Unfortunately, the poorest countries of the world fail to purchase the amount of potash salts they need, due to limited local availability and challenging infrastructures, which make imports too expensive [see refs. 1,2]. Alternative forms of affordable potash have been proposed throughout history, for example the use of ground rocks (stonemeal) [1-4]. However, such an approach is hindered by a general lack of knowledge of the soil science community on the potash problem.

Recently, important developments on stonemeal as alternative potash have been reported in a broad spectrum of geographical contexts and soils [Prof. Manning, Dr. Martins]. In addition, large-scale and exceptional quality alternative potassium resources have been reported across continents [Terrativa]. Finally, field tests from these alternative sources have been conducted in China for over a decade [Prof. Liu].

Furthermore, recent developments on advanced processing have permitted the design of innovative materials that passed successfully greenhouse tests [MIT, Dr. Martins].

The first international workshop on alternative potash offered a unique platform to exchange research advancements of world pioneers and most recent contenders on the use of potassium-bearing rocks as efficient and affordable fertilizers.

World experts from academia provided an overview of the potash situation and the possible alternative in a public session hosted on November 11th, 2015. In particular, results pertinent to the African continent, Brazil and China were presented. The program and video-recordings of the sessions are available here.

The second day of the workshop was dedicated to informal sessions on specific topics (See close sessions here), during which representatives from the African Development Bank, the African Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP), and industry (Sirius, Terrativa Minerals) or academic engaged with industry actively contributed to describe the present status of the field of alternative potash, the situation in Africa and its particular requests. The sessions were then the occasion to identify particular contributions that each represented party could offer to allow the African continent to become potash-sufficient. Minutes of the sessions were circulated and an action plan proposed.


An international workshop gathering experts from China, Brazil, Europe and North America,
aiming at presenting their most recent developments in the field of alternative potash fertilizers

William Barton Rogers Pioneering geologist,
MIT founder,
advocate of alternative potash.