Can the World Feed Itself? Historic Fertilizer Crunch Threatens Food Security


For the first time ever, farmers the world over — all at the same time — are testing the limits of how little chemical fertilizer they can apply without devastating their yields come harvest time. Early predictions are bleak.

In Brazil, the world’s biggest soybean producer, a 20% cut in potash use could bring a 14% drop in yields, according to industry consultancy MB Agro. In Costa Rica, a coffee cooperative representing 1,200 small producers sees output falling as much as 15% next year if the farmers miss even one-third of normal application. In West Africa, falling fertilizer use will shrink this year’s rice and corn harvest by a third, according to the International Fertilizer Development Center, a food security non-profit group.

But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.” Ez. 33:6

“Probably farmers will grow enough to feed themselves. But the question is what they will have to feed the cities,” said Patrice Annequin, a senior fertilizer market specialist for IFDC based in Ivory Coast. When you add increased hunger across West Africa on top of existing risks like terrorism, “this is absolutely dangerous for many governments in our region.”

For the billions of people around the world who don’t work in agriculture, the global shortage of affordable fertilizer likely reads like a distant problem. In truth, it will leave no household unscathed. In even the least-disruptive scenario, soaring prices for synthetic nutrients will result in lower crop yields and higher grocery-store prices for everything from milk to beef to packaged foods for months or even years to come across the developed world. And in developing economies already facing high levels of food insecurity?

Lower fertilizer use risks engendering malnutrition, political unrest and, ultimately, the otherwise avoidable loss of human life.

Read More @ Yahoo News HERE


  1. I’ve been waiting for this situation to arise; it comes as the eye of a perfect storm, so many contributing factors colliding to produce a food crisis. Believe me please, I’ve been saying this would occur for almost fifty years. I just didn’t know what factors would bring it about or when.

    If we read the full article carefully, the under tow, the back flavour is more about farming practices than artificial fertilisers.

    I began in English farming at nine years old, that’s more than sixty years ago. A small mixed farm having pigs, cattle and sheep, with chickens running free, and with small fields and … here’s the first Biblical reference … fields left fallow every seven years. We used no artificial fertiliser, just muck, or manure if you please, from the farm yard. This one hundred acres fed four families and sold massive amounts of food to the London market. That was good, nutritious food.

    Today I’m retired and living surrounded by farms whose farming practices I know little. 11 sprays a cereal growing season. An embarrassment of artificial fertilisers and heavy machinery replacing man power but producing belly filling food without adequate nutrition. But there’s no livestock! No manure, no heart in the soil, no, it’s just a growing medium utterly sterile. The dead expected to give life to the dormant. No can do buddy!

    Until Western farms are broken up into much smaller units encompassing livestock; until manure is applied in place of artificials farming will be in decline and thereby food supplies. But will it happen? No, I don’t think so. Too much money involved. The term agri-businessman explains it all. Go backwards to go forwards.

    I’ve posted here earlier, the Biblical picture of farming is one of a farmer cherishing his land as he cherishes his wife and family. For me it was a love affair with the soil. The farmer feeds his soil and the soil feeds him. Our Heavenly Father who gave us the soil also told us how to manage it to our benefit but modern man …profit, profit, profit and then leave it to someone else as he dies. King Solomon gave us Ecclesiastes. He writes of this life only, except his saying animals return to the earth. His use of the word vanity is very telling in terms of agriculture. Profit, profit, profit but to what end; all is vanity.

    How true.

Comments are closed.