A new report from the United Nations warns of a developing fertilizer crisis in the world. The report, “Our Nutrient World” cites a growing imbalance of fertilizer supply and use around the globe; some areas have too much while other areas do not have enough.
The study notes the use of phosphorus has tripled and synthetic nitrogen use has increased nine-fold since the 1960’s. Projections say fertilizer demand will increase 40 to 50 percent in the next 40 years.
The areas with ample supply tend to use too much to the point it is affecting ecosystems, polluting surface water, prompting algae growth and fish kills.
On the other end of the spectrum are areas of the world with little or no access to fertilizers which are unable to produce enough food and continue traditional practices which degrade the soil. Areas of particular concern are Africa, Latin America and parts of Asia.
The report’s lead author, Professor Mark Sutton from the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology says we need to rethink how fertilizers are distributed and used around the globe. Sutton states: “Our analysis shows that by improving the management of the flow of nutrients we can help protect the environment, climate and human health while addressing food and energy security concerns.”
“Our Nutrient World” is available for download here: