The Global Significance of Fertilizers

The Global Significance of Fertilizers

October 13, 2023

With the global population projected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050, the challenge of meeting the world’s food demand is more critical than ever. To put things in perspective, we need to increase food production by a staggering 70% over the next 30 years. Global food security and sustainable agriculture hinge on the responsible use of commercial fertilizers.

The Role of Fertilizers, Crop Nutrition, and Soil Health in Global Agriculture
Fertilizers, when combined with sound agricultural practices, are fundamental for maintaining healthy soil and supporting crop growth. They supply essential nutrients that may not be readily available in the soil, enabling farmers to support plant growth and increase yields.

Global Fertilizer Day
Fertilizers are often the unsung heroes of agriculture, providing plants with the vital nutrients they need to thrive. They are integral to global food production, enhancing crop yields and ensuring food security. Over the next three decades, we must increase food production by 70% to feed the expanding global population. This would be impossible without the support of commercial fertilizers.

Recognizing the pivotal role of fertilizers in the world’s food supply, we celebrate Global Fertilizer Day every year on October 13. This date marks the anniversary of Fritz Haber’s groundbreaking discovery of ammonia synthesis in 1908, known as the Haber-Bosch process. This innovative process catalyzed the Green Revolution of the early 20th century, rescuing millions from poverty and famine and shaping our world as we know it today.

The Essential Role of the Fertilizer Industry
The fertilizer industry is a cornerstone of Canada’s economy, contributing over $23 billion annually and providing employment for 76,000 workers throughout the supply chain. It plays a crucial role in promoting profitable, environmentally responsible, and sustainable food production. At Sylvite, we are fully committed to promoting the safe, secure, and sustainable use of fertilizers through innovative solutions that have a positive impact on the environment, the Canadian economy, and the global supply chain. Here are 10 facts about the Canadian fertilizer industry:

  1. The fertilizer industry provides employment to over 12,000 skilled Canadians with well-paying jobs.
  2. Farmers worldwide rely on fertilizers to replenish soil with essential nutrients for plant growth.
  3. Half of the world’s food production is made possible through fertilizers.
  4. Canada ranks as the world’s third-largest producer of primary fertilizers (N, P, K) thanks to the strength of our potash and nitrogen production facilities.
  5. Fertilizer production generates $17 billion in economic activity and contributes $9.2 billion to Canada’s GDP.
  6. Canadian fertilizer is traded with over 75 countries, constituting 2% of Canadian exports.
  7. Canada stands as the leading global exporter of potash fertilizer.
  8. Fertilizer consumption in Canada has shown a steady increase over the past two decades to support higher crop yields.
  9. Canada is the seventh-largest consumer of fertilizer on a global scale.
  10. By 2050, the world must produce 70% more food, with increased yields being a crucial component, in which fertilizers play an indispensable role.

Industry Stewardship
Advocacy is at the core of our industry. As members of Fertilizer Canada, we are engaged at both the provincial and federal levels to ensure that our industry can function efficiently, while also being a good corporate citizen. This important advocacy work showcases our wide spread impact and shows that we are positively impacting the environment, the economy, and the social fabrics of Canadian life. As members of Fertilizer Canada, we adhere to seven fundamental sustainability principles:

  1. Base decisions and actions on sound scientific evidence.
  2. Promote best practices in on-farm nutrient management (4R Nutrient Stewardship).
  3. Ensure products are safe, environmentally responsible, and effective.
  4. Follow high standards for the safe, secure, and environmentally responsive production and distribution of fertilizers.
  5. Foster transparent communication and collaboration with stakeholders.
  6. Encourage openness and reporting on performance.
  7. Act with integrity.

Embracing Sustainable Agriculture
Global Fertilizer Day is a reminder of the vital role played by the fertilizer industry in global agriculture. It’s not just about increasing yields; it’s about ensuring food security and environmental responsibility. Fertilizers, when paired with sustainable practices, are the source to feeding the world’s growing population. At Sylvite, we are committed to advancing sustainable agriculture through innovative solutions and promoting the safe, secure, and sustainable use of fertilizers.

We invite you to celebrate Global Fertilizer Day with us and recognize the contributions of the fertilizer industry to create a more abundant and secure food future.