The United Nations’ worst-case scenario calculation is that global food prices will rise by a further 8.5% by 2027.
Dearer fertilizers are contributed to those higher costs, with some fertilizers spiking 300% since September 2020, based on the American Farm Bureau.
“Last yr [fertilizer] was around $270 per ton and now it’s over $1,400 per ton,” Meagan Kaiser, of Kaiser Family Farms and farmer-director of the United Soybean Board, told NBC’s “Nightly News with Lester Holt.”
“It’s scary. It turns my stomach a bit of bit to think in regards to the amount of risk that our family farm is taking right away.”
Farmers are finding themselves forced to pass a few of those costs along to customers, leading to higher grocery prices.
Fertilizer is crucial for crops. Without fertilizer, plants may not get the nourishment they should end in the yields needed to satisfy global demand.
In response to the International Fertilizer Association, we’d only have the ability to feed about half of the worldwide population without fertilizer.
Farmers try to regulate to this recent normal. When surveyed in spring 2022 about what they intended to plant, farmers said they were turning to more soybean, based on U.S. Department of Agriculture data, or a record 91 million acres of the legume. That could be because legumes don’t require as much fertilizer as corn to grow.
Spikes in fertilizer prices began when Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022.
“It’s amazing how dependent the world is on fertilizers from the region that we’re talking about Russia and Ukraine,” Johanna Mendelson Forman, adjunct professor at American University’s School of International Service, told CNBC.
The region is accountable for not less than 28% of the world’s fertilizer exports, including nitrogen-, potassium- and phosphorus-based fertilizers, based on Morgan Stanley.
Also factoring into price spikes are rising natural gas costs.
“There is a direct relationship with what we’re seeing in fuel prices and fertilizer prices,” Jo Handelsman, director of the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery on the University of Wisconsin-Madison, told CNBC.
That is because fossil fuels are utilized in the manufacturing means of fertilizers — and is considered one of the explanations that they will contribute to climate change.
Plus, if farmers overuse fertilizers, the chemicals can run off into waterways, causing environmental damage, pollution and illnesses.
“I’m not saying that the fertilizer is bad … our soil naturally has nutrients,” Ronald Vargas, secretary of the Global Soil Partnership for the United Nations. “If [soil] is of course depleted, then you must discover a approach to make those nutrients available.”
Watch the video above to learn more in regards to the world fertilizer crisis amid supply chain woes and its climate change impact, while exploring potential solutions on the horizon.