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3 Reasons for the Fertilizer and Food Shortage

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The-Fertilizer-Shortage-and-Food-Crisis

3 Reasons for the Fertilizer and Food Shortage

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Bad weather, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and a shortage of fertilizer have led to fears of a global food crisis.

This infographic will help you understand the problem by highlighting three key factors behind the mounting food crisis.

#1: The Fertilizer Shortage

Since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the war has disrupted shipments of fertilizer, an essential source of nutrients for crops.

Russia is the world’s top exporter of nitrogen fertilizer and ranks second in phosphorus and potassium fertilizer exports. Belarus, a Russian ally also contending with Western sanctions, is another major fertilizer producer. In addition, both countries collectively account for over 40% of global exports of the crop nutrient potash.

Here are the top 20 fertilizer exporters globally:

RankCountryExports Value (Billions in USD)
#1 🇷🇺 Russia$12.5
#2 🇨🇳 China$10.9
#3 🇨🇦 Canada$6.6
#4 🇲🇦 Morocco$5.7
#5 🇺🇸 United States$4.1
#6 🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia$3.6
#7 🇳🇱 Netherlands$2.9
#8 🇧🇪 Belgium$2.6
#9 🇴🇲 Oman$2.6
#10 🇶🇦 Qatar$2.2
#11 🇩🇪 Germany$1.5
#12 🇮🇱I srael$1.5
#13 🇪🇬 Egypt$1.5
#14 🇱🇹 Lithuania$1.4
#15 🇩🇿 Algeria$1.4
#16 🇪🇸 Spain$1.3
#17 🇯🇴 Jordan$1.3
#18 🇵🇱 Poland$1.2
#19 🇲🇾 Malaysia$1.0
#20 🇳🇬 Nigeria$1.0

The main destination of fertilizer exports from Russia are large economies like India, Brazil, China, and the United States.

However, many developing countries—including Mongolia, Honduras, Cameroon, Ghana, Senegal, and Guatemala—rely on Russia for at least one-fifth of their fertilizer imports.

Furthermore, the war intensified trends that were already disrupting supply, such as increased hoarding by major producing nations like China and sharp jumps in the price of natural gas, a key feedstock for fertilizer production.

#2: Global Grain Exports

The blockade of Ukrainian ports by Russia’s Black Sea fleet, along with Western sanctions against Russia, has worsened global supply chain bottlenecks, causing inflation in food and energy prices around the world.

This is largely because Russia and Ukraine together account for nearly one-third of the global wheat supply. Wheat is one of the most-used crops in the world annually, used to make a variety of food products like bread and pasta. Additionally, Ukraine is also a major exporter of corn, barley, sunflower oil, and rapeseed oil.

ProducerGrain Exports in Million Tons (MT)
🇺🇸 United States93MT
🇷🇺 Russia & 🇺🇦 Ukraine87MT
🇦🇷 Argentina56MT
🇪🇺 EU50MT
🇧🇷 Brazil44MT
Other87MT

As a result of the blockade, Ukraine’s exports of cereals and oilseed dropped from six million tonnes to two million tonnes per month. After two months of negotiations, the two countries signed a deal to reopen Ukrainian Black Sea ports for grain exports, raising hopes that the international food crisis can be eased.

#3: Recent Food Shortages

Besides the war in Ukraine, factors including the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change resulted in nearly one billion people going hungry last year, according to United Nations.

France’s wine industry saw its smallest harvest since 1957 in 2021, with an estimated loss of $2 billion in sales due to increasingly higher temperatures and extreme weather conditions.

Heat, drought, and floods also decimated crops in Latin America, North America, and India in recent months. Between April 2020 and December 2021, coffee prices increased 70% after droughts and frost destroyed crops in Brazil.

In the face of multiple crises, the World Bank recently announced financial support of up to $30 billion to existing and new projects in areas such as agriculture, nutrition, social protection, water, and irrigation.

The post 3 Reasons for the Fertilizer and Food Shortage appeared first on Visual Capitalist.

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