Teck Resources and the National Agricultural Technology Extension Service Center of the Ministry of Agriculture of China (NATESC) signed an agreement to demonstrate and promote zinc fertilizer use in China. Zinc deficiency is a worldwide problem that has serious impacts on agricultural production and human health. More than 450,000 children around the world die every year as a result of zinc deficiency.

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.

“As one of the world’s largest producers of zinc, Teck is committed to raising awareness about the devastating impacts of zinc deficiency and helping solve this global health issue,” said Don Lindsay, president and CEO, Teck. “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.”

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

The Teck and NATESC partnership will build on this work by providing a total of $500,000 in matching funds from both Teck and NATESC to conduct up to a further 50 field trial demonstration projects and promote widespread education on the benefits of zinc fertilizer.

“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,” said NATESC Party Secretary Hang Dapeng. “Based on our initial field trial results, our program is already oversubscribed by provinces and regions excited to take part.”

Teck’s Zinc and Health program is focused on raising awareness about and reducing cases of zinc deficiency around the world. Some of Teck’s partners include the International Zinc Association, UNICEF, Free the Children, the Micronutrient Initiative and the Government of Canada.