5 Reasons Why Fertilizers Will Be Crucial In 2030

A key part of the IFA2030 fertilizer industry strategic review exercise is to consider how the world may change over the next 12 years. With a rapidly expanding global population and extreme weather becoming increasingly common the next few years could be particularly challenging. From providing food for all those extra mouths to helping remove carbon from the atmosphere, here’s why sustainable, balanced and efficient nutrient application is going to be increasingly important for tackling the world’s problems in 2030.

The world’s population is projected to reach 8.6 billion by 2030, according to the FAO. With an extra 1 billion more people that will need to be fed than today, the efficient use of fertilizers will be crucial for maximizing yields and ensuring that enough food is grown on existing farmland.

Despite rapid urbanization, the world will have a predicted 750 million smallholder farmers in 2030, according to CCAFS. Climate change combined with land degradation will make it even harder for subsidence farmers to make a living. By improving yields and helping to restore degraded soil, fertilizers can help smallholder farmers reduce soil erosion, grow more on their land and consistently produce surpluses that can be sold at market.

Already the most severe threat facing humanity today, according to the World Economic Forum, scientists have predicted that extreme weather will increase at least threefold in many areas. By improving their health and resilience, balanced fertilization can help plants adapt to a variety of extreme weather conditions, from flooding to drought. Fertigation, using water soluble fertilizers within irrigation, can also be used to grow crops in very dry conditions.

Carbon Dioxide emissions rose to a record 37 billion metric tons last year, according to the GCP, and is the biggest contributor to climate change. Fertilizers can help agriculture to reduce the negative effects by forestalling deforestation and loss of wildlands representing around 10% global GHG emissions. They can also help manage soil health and increase its ability to capture carbon from the atmosphere. A recent study found that with better management the world’s farmland could trap between 0.9 and 1.85 billion extra tonnes of carbon annually, as much as transport produces every year.

According to a recent study , 25 percent of the world’s cropland has experienced land degradation. When soil is not replenished after every harvest with micro- and macronutrients it becomes gradually depleted and less fertile, as well as more prone to environmental problems such as erosion and desertification. Fertilizers, and the crops they support, are vital for restoring degraded soils and fighting against desertification. The world’s population is projected to reach 8.6 billion by 2030, according to the FAO. With an extra 1 billion more people that will need to be fed than today, the efficient use of fertilizers will be crucial for maximizing yields and ensuring that enough food is grown on existing farmland.