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3 reasons for the shortage of fertilizer and food

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Bad weather, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and a shortage of fertilizers raised fears of a global food crisis.

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

#1: Fertilizer shortage

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

Russia is the world’s largest exporter of nitrogen fertilizers and ranks second in exports of phosphorus and potassium fertilizers. Belarus, a Russian ally also grappling with Western sanctions, is another big fertilizer producer. In addition, the two countries collectively represent more than 40% world exports of potash, a crop nutrient.

here are the Top 20 Fertilizer Exporters globally :

Rank Country Export value (billion 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
#seven 🇳🇱 Netherlands $2.9
#8 🇧🇪 Belgium $2.6
#9 🇴🇲Oman $2.6
#ten 🇶🇦 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 destinations for Russia’s fertilizer exports are major economies such as India, Brazil, China and the United States.

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

In addition, the war intensified trends that were already disrupting supply, such as increased hoarding by major producing countries like China and sharp increases in the price of natural gas, a key raw material for fertilizer production.

#2: World grain exports

The blockade of Ukrainian ports by the Russian Black Sea Fleet, together with Western sanctions against Russia, have aggravated bottlenecks in the global supply chain, causing inflation in food prices and energy in the world.

This is largely because Russia and Ukraine together represent close to a third of the world wheat supply. Wheat is one of the most widely used crops in the world each year, used to make a variety of food products like bread and pasta. Moreover, Ukraine is also a major exporter of corn, barley, sunflower oil and rapeseed oil.

Producer Cereal exports in million tonnes (MT)
🇺🇸 United States 93MT
🇷🇺 Russia & 🇺🇦 Ukraine 87MT
🇦🇷 Argentina 56MT
🇪🇺 EU 50MT
🇧🇷 Brazil 44MT
Other 87MT

Following the blockade, Ukrainian grain and oilseed exports fell from six million tonnes to two million tonnes per month. After two months of negotiations, the two countries signed an agreement to reopen Ukraine’s Black Sea ports to grain exports, raising hopes that the international food crisis can be eased.

#3: Recent food shortages

In addition to the war in Ukraine, factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change have resulted in almost one billion people suffering from hunger last year, according to the United Nations.

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

Heat, drought and floods have also decimated crops in Latin America, North America and India in recent months. Between April 2020 and December 2021, coffee prices increased by 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 for existing and new projects in areas such as agriculture, nutrition, social protection, water and irrigation .

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