World now rich in fertilizer supply, UN agricultural agency says

Farmer adds fertilizer to his crops

26 February 2008 – Enough fertilizer will be produced in the next five years to cover world demand and support higher levels of food and biofuel production, according to a report released today by the United Nations agricultural agency.

“High commodity prices experienced over recent years led to increased production and correspondingly to greater fertilizer use,” Jan Poulisse, a fertilizer expert for the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), said in announcing the findings of the report.

“While it is expected that the demand for basic food crops, fruits and vegetables, for animal products and for biofuel crops is likely to remain strong, we expect fertilizer supply to grow sufficiently to meet higher consumption,” he added, noting that higher fertilizer prices have boosted production.

The report estimates that the supply of nitrogen, phosphate and potash nutrient will increase by some 34 million tons, representing an annual growth rate of 3 per cent between the biennia of 2007-2008 and 2011-2012, comfortably sufficient to cover demand growth of 1.9 per cent annually.

Africa will remain a major phosphate exporter and increase nitrogen exports while importing all of its potash. Fertilizer consumption on that continent continues to be largely restricted to 10 countries, with the main consumers being Egypt, South Africa and Morocco.

It is expected that North America will continue to be a net importer of nitrogen and that the region will move into increasing phosphate deficit while remaining a primary supplier of potash.

Asia is expected to produce a rapidly increasing surplus of nitrogen, but will continue to import phosphate and potash.


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