What is food and nutrition security?

Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food.

Nutrition security means access by all people at all times to the adequate utilization and absorption of nutrients in food, in order to be able to live a healthy and active life.

Fertilizers provide half of the food we eat today. 

 Greater food availability in the low-income, food-deficit nations cannot be achieved with one silver bullet. No doubt, greater availability of fertilizer is critical to any solution. Yet we also need a long-term vision of growth, and integrated investments that incorporates research, human and institutional capacity building, infrastructure, sound policy, markets and governance.

Norman Borlaug,
Nobel Peace Prize

Roots for Growth is a global initiative whose aim is to raise awareness and share knowledge about the important role which fertilizers play in global agriculture.

Fertilizers contribute to food and nutrition security by:

  • Providing nutrients for plants;
  • Preventing soils from becoming depleted of nutrients and replenishing soils that have become nutrient depleted;
  • Increasing yields and thus enabling food production to keep pace with population and income growth and the hunger reduction objectives
  • Maximizing agricultural productivity without increasing land surface use;
  • Addressing nutrient deficiencies that undermine both public health and economic growth.
Providing farmers with access to quality inputs, in particular fertilizers, and the knowledge to apply them efficiently and effectively over a long period of time is the first step enhancing food security.

Thomas Hager, Science Writer, author of 'The Alchemy of Air'
Haber-Bosch: The Discovery that changed the World Commemorative Lecture on 100 year anniversary of the Commercialization of Haber-Bosch Process

4 key steps towards greater food security:

  • Access to inputs and knowledge: farmers worldwide have access to quality inputs and the knowledge to use them efficiently;
  • Yield/Productivity increase: farmers grow more crops per unit land and water;
  • Increased incomes and diversification: farmers develop a surplus that they can sell, with the extra income they can buy more food, and pay for basic services (access to energy, health and education);
  • Rural livelihoods: life on the farms and in villages is improved with communities more secure financially and providing for the local populations.
Featured papers
TitleAuthorsYearPub FormatClick Link
Global Fertilizer Production and Use: Issues and Challenges - Read More ... Hebebrand, C.2013PdfDownload
Global Food Security and New Demand for the Fertilizer Industry - Read More ... Shenggen, Fan2013PdfDownload
Food Prices and Fertilizer Markets. Factors Influencing the Variations in Fertilizer Market Conditions - Read More ...  2011PdfDownload
Message Mapping Project: Food and Nutrition Security - Read More ...  2011PdfDownload

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Online Consultation for Developing the FAO Code of Conduct for the Management of Fertilizers - Read More ... IFA2018PdfDownload
Nitrogen Use Efficiency: Global Trends and their Implications for Food Security and the Environment - Read More ... Zhang, Xin2016PdfDownload
The High Value to Society of Modern Agriculture - Read More ... Witzke, H. von2016PdfDownload
Global Opportunities and Challenges: Reflections from John Deere's Chief Economist - Read More ... Penn, J.B.2016PdfDownload
Rethinking Soils: Lessons Learned from IYS 205 and the Way Forward - Read More ... Mamo, T.2016PdfDownload

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