For the first time, farmers throughout the world are being forced at the same moment to test limits on chemical fertilizer on the yield for their crops this year, and things are not looking great.
From soybean producers in Brazil to coffee cooperatives in Costa Rica to West African fertilizer supply, the issues are adding up across the world for farmers.
Patrice Annequin, a senior fertilizer market specialist for IFDC based in Ivory Coast believes “Probably farmers will grow enough to feed themselves. But the question is what they will have to feed the cities”. When you add in other variables and risks in unstable countries Annequin hints, “this is absolutely dangerous for many governments in our region.”
Many in the “West” and other developed countries are not immediately affected by the idea that there is a global shortage of fertilizer, especially with CoVID restrictions ending and swathes of the world opening back up to the general public after the last few years. In the most benign scenario, sky-high prices for synthetic nutrients will result in reduced crop yields and higher grocery-store costs for months or even years after across the developed world. And in developing world where food security is a major issues already? Planting less food as a result of lower fertilizer usage increases hunger, political upheaval, and, in the long run, human mortality.