January 24, 2018

High food demand to intensify phosphate mining

Increasing food demand to cater for a world population explosion might just be the catalyst for the rise in demand in phosphate for fertiliser production, based on ongoing developments in food production.

A UK-based organisation that monitors food security matters globally predicts that the world’s population will to hit 9Bn by 2050, an increase from from today’s total of nearly 6.8Bn, simultaneously leading to substantial increase in food demand.

The global hike shocker of 2008 was only a harbinger of more, if not the worst to come, OCP Group warns. Food prices rose stratospherically, wheat up by 130%, sorghum by 87% and rise 74%. The organisation says the main cause of this phenomenon was increase in input costs of food production, mainly industrial fertiliser.

In 2008 The United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon warned that up to $20Bn a year was needed to alleviate the crisis. That’s wasn’t alarmist, just in 2008 an extra $1.2Bn in food aid was spent to help 75M people in 60 nations.

More to the point, to underscore the importance of food security, the World Bank notes that annually, more people die each year from hunger and malnutrition than from AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined.  And it warns that for the problem to be addressed, cereal production needs to increase by 50% and meat production by 85% between 2000 and 2030.

One of the most practical ways to address the problem of growing food insecurity is increasing the use of industrial fertilisers in farming, according to OCP Group, an organisation which focuses on food security matters. “Industrial fertilizers are the only way to substantially increase yields per hectare and thereby limit the expansion of farmland at the expense of already strained forests. North America, Western Europe and Asia consume four-fifths of the total fertilizer used in the world,” the organisation recommends.

The demand for industrial fertilizer could be just what the doctor ordered for the increase in phosphate mining, which is the main ingredient in fertilizer production.

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