Global fertilizer use likely to decline before partial recovery, with food security implications

Paris, France, July 27, 2022

The International Fertilization Association (IFA) forecasts a decline in global mineral fertilizer use of up to 7% in a pessimistic scenario – a reflection of significant uncertainty in market conditions and a feature of the unfolding food crisis.

Of the three primary nutrients in commercial fertilizers - nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium (or potash) – application of potash is forecast to decrease the most in fertilizer year 2022 (FY 2022), according to IFA’s Medium-Term Fertilizer Outlook 2022 – 2026, available for download here.

“Reduced fertilizer consumption this year raises the risk of significantly lower crop yields in the next harvest, which means lower food production and ultimately more people at risk of hunger and starvation,” said Alzbeta Klein, IFA CEO/Director General. “This IFA report informs the work we are doing to try to alleviate the effects of the food crisis with our partners.”

South Asia and East Asia are forecast to drive the decline in global fertilizer use in FY 2022. In relative terms, sub-Saharan Africa is expected to face the most severe shortfall, of between 18% and 23% compared to FY 2021.

A partial recovery is forecast for all three macronutrients in FY 2023. And in the medium-term (FY 2024 to FY2026), global fertilizer demand is expected to continue its recovery, although potash consumption trends are expected to slow the recovery of total fertilizer use.

IFA developed a new forecasting methodology for this annual outlook in response to the war in Ukraine, to reflect that short-term fertilizer use is likely to be more heavily dictated by the availability of fertilizers, with less emphasis on crop forecasts and agronomic considerations. The report presents three scenarios: optimistic, pessimistic and middle ground.

IFA also partnered with Gro Intelligence, an agriculture and climate analytics provider. Modelling by Gro Intelligence conducted in July 2022 implies that in IFA’s pessimistic scenario, reduced nitrogen fertilizer application would result in declines in global production of maize, rice and wheat of 1.4%, 1.5% and 3.1% respectively.

About the International Fertilizer Association. The International Fertilizer Association (IFA) was founded in 1927 and is the only global fertilizer association, with some 400 members in 70 countries and a mission to promote the efficient and responsible production, distribution and use of plant nutrients. This mission plays a critical role in helping to feed the world sustainably. IFA represents providers of plant nutrition solutions. Members include fertilizer producers, traders and distributors, as well as their associations, service providers to the industry, research organizations, ag-tech startups and non-governmental organizations.

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Media Contact

Sally Ekanayaka, Communications Manager, sekanayaka@fertilizer.org