Due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, the 29 th International Symposium of the Scientific Centre for Fertilizers (CIEC) was conducted a second time as a hybrid conference in Shenyang on December 6, 2021, entitled "Challenges of food production and fertilization in a virtual world". The symposium was hosted by CIEC care of the Institute of Applied Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China and the Institute of Crop and Soil Science at JKI in Braunschweig, Germany. CIEC is an 88 years old club of scientists, who are solely dedicated to fertilizers and soil fertility. Since its foundation around 24.000 scientists have participated in 17 World Fertilizer Congresses and 28 Fertilizer Symposia that have been organized by CIEC in 26 countries of the world. Scientists from 6 countries presented their and discussed their research on fertilizer technology, nutrient management, soil quality and amelioration, soil fertility, plant microbe interaction and special aspects of sulfur nutrition and foliar fertilization. The opening ceremony was chaired by Silvia Haneklaus, Secretary General of CIEC. CIEC´s president Prof. Lanzhu Ji and honorary President Prof. Ewald Schnug delivered welcome speeches in which they stressed the difficult situation for science communication during the COVID-19 pandemic. At the closing ceremony, Prof. Yuanliang Shi announced that the 30th International Symposium of the Scientific Centre for Fertilizers is still planned to be held would be held in Cairo, Egypt, in November 2022, and the 18th World fertilizer conference will be conducted in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, China in early August 2022.