4R Solution - Global Sustainability

4R nutrient stewardship project

Right Source @ Right Rate, Right Time and Right Place®

A Canadian approach that will improve the socio-economic well-being and resilience of 80,000 smallholder farmers, particularly women, in Ethiopia, Ghana and Senegal

Benefits of 4R Solution

A Truly Global Impact

The initiative’s aim is to show how adopting more sustainable farming practices can increase resilience, incomes, and food security, and reduce poverty for men, women and children.


Helping smallholder farmers grow more nutritious and marketable crops, increase revenues, productivity and profit margins.


Reflecting a commitment to improve food security, promote climate smart agriculture and support the UN Sustainable Development Goals.


Promoting the empowerment of women farmers, with special emphasis on improving access to financial resources and agriculture technologies.


The 4R Solution Project aims to achieve the following:


Support sustainable production using climate-smart 4R principles and best agronomic management practices augmented by skill development, access to inputs, technologies and finance for smallholder farmers.


Enable women to participate in leadership positions and in decision-making


Promote 4R principles in national, regional and global standards and policies through lobbying and advocacy

Africa’s smallholders are more than capable of feeding the continent — so long as they boost their yields by using the latest agronomic practices in combination with appropriately adapted seeds and fertilizer.

Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations (1997-2006)

What is the 4R Solution?

A Scientific Approach

The 4R Solution is a Canadian program that will improve agricultural productivity and sustainability for more than 80,000 smallholder farmers (50% women) in developing countries including Ethiopia, Ghana, and Senegal.

The 4R Solution provides smallholder farmers with tools to increase their crop yields and income, while improving sustainability and protecting the environment. It utilizes 4R Nutrient Stewardship principles, based on nutrient best management practices, to improve productivity.


This matches the type of fertilizer with the crop needs to use the right balance and form of nutrients.


This matches the amount of fertilizer with the crop needs to ensure nutrient application amounts match the crop’s nutrient uptake.


This matches the crop growth patterns to make nutrients available when the crops need them. This technique maximizes nutrient uptake and reduces losses.


This keeps the nutrients where crops need them by placing nutrients appropriately for each farm situation to reduce losses to the environment and maximize crop uptake.

The goal of this process it to match nutrient supply with crop requirements to improve sustainability, environmental protection and farmer profitability. Simple tools, including bottle caps, can be used to measure low, medium and high fertilizer application rates as appropriate, while using practices like measuring the hole to make sure fertilizer and seeds are both placed at the appropriate depth for the crop. The application of these techniques varies by location and is dependent on local soil and climate, crop, management conditions and other site-specific factors.


The 4R Solution project is a partnership between the Co-Operative Development Foundation of Canada (CDF Canada), Fertilizer Canada, The International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI) Canada and the African Plant Nutrition Institute (APNI).

It works directly with local partners in each implementing country, including the Savanna Agricultural Research Institute and SEND Ghana in Ghana, and Ethio Wetland and Natural Resources Association (EWNRA) and the Amhara Agricultural Research Institute (ARARI) in Ethiopia.

The program is undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through Global Affairs Canada. The program is also funded by private sector funders namely Sollio Agriculture, Nutrien, J.R Simplot, AGI, OCP and Shell.

Fertilizer Canada

Fertilizer Canada Logo

Fertilizer Canada represents manufacturers, wholesale and retail distributors of nitrogen, phosphate, potash and sulphur fertilizers. The fertilizer industry plays an essential role in Canada’s economy, contributing $23 billion in economic activity annually and 76,000 jobs.

For more information, please visit fertilizercanada.ca.

CDF Canada

CDF Canada Logo

The Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada (CDF Canada) is an international development charity that has improved the lives of women, men, children and their communities through co-operatives for over 70 years. CDF Canada and its supporters have impacted the lives of millions of people in multiple countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America.

For more information, please visit cdfcanada.coop.

IPNI Canada

The International Plant Nutrition Institute, Canada (IPNI) is a not-for-profit, science-based organization dedicated to the responsible management of plant nutrition for the benefit of the human family and has initiatives addressing the world’s growing need for food, fuel, fiber, and feed.

For more information, please visit ipni.net.


The African Plant Nutrition Institute (APNI) is a not-for-profit research and education organization founded in March 2019 and based in Benguérir, Morocco. APNI’s mission is to develop and promote sustainable plant nutrition management and innovation through research, education, and extension.

For more information, please visit: apni.net.


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