The United Nations’ worst-case calculation is that global food prices will increase by 8.5% by 2027.
More expensive fertilizers have contributed to that cost increase, with some fertilizers spiked by 300% since September 2020, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“Last year [fertilizer] was around $270/ton and now over $1,400/ton,” Meagan Kaiser, of Kaiser Family Farms and United Soybean Board’s farmer director, told NBC’s “Nightly News with Lester Holt.”
“It’s scary. I cringe a little when I think about the amount of risk our family farm is taking right now.”
The farmer finds himself forced to pass on some of those costs to the customer, resulting in higher grocery prices.
Fertilizers are essential for plants. Without fertilizers, plants may not receive the nutrients they need to produce the yields they need to meet global demand.
According to the International Fertilizer Association, we would only be able to supply about half of the global population without fertilizer.
Farmers are trying to adjust to this new normal. When surveyed in spring 2022 about what they plan to grow, farmers said they were shifting to growing more soybeans, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data, or a record 91 million acres of legumes. . That could be because legumes don’t need as much fertilizer as corn to grow.
Fertilizer prices began to skyrocket when Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022.
Johanna Mendelson Forman, an assistant professor at American University’s School of International Services, told CNBC: “It’s amazing how the world depends on fertilizer from the region we’re talking about Russia and Ukraine.
The region is responsible for at least 28% of the world’s fertilizer exports, including nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus based fertilizers, according to Morgan Stanley.
Also, the spike in price factor is the rising cost of natural gas.
“There’s a direct relationship to what we’re seeing in fuel prices and fertilizer prices,” Jo Handelsman, director of the Wisconsin Discovery Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, told CNBC.
That’s because fossil fuels are used in the production of fertilizers – and one of the reasons they can contribute to climate change.
In addition, if farmers overuse fertilizers, chemicals can flow into waterways, causing environmental damage, pollution and disease.
Ronald Vargas, secretary of the United Nations’ Global Soil Partnership: “I’m not saying that fertilizers are bad… our soil is naturally nutrient-rich. “If [soil] naturally depleted, then you need to find a way to supply those nutrients. “
Watch the video above to learn more about the world fertilizer crisis amid supply chain challenges and the impacts of climate change, and explore potential solutions on the horizon.