According to UN data, during the fifty years period between 1961 and 2009, the agricultural land increased by 12% but the total agricultural food output increased a remarkable 150%. This success was to a large degree a consequence of the introduction of new technologies, fertilizers, pesticides and high-yield crops.
The world’s population has gone from 2.5 billion people in 1950 to 7 billion in 2011, and in order to continue feeding an always growing population, expected to reach more than 9 billion in 2050, the fertilizer industry will have to continue its contribution to the agricultural growth and to meet the rising demand for food.
The main drive for the manufacture of more fertilizers is the population growth, but also other factors like the decrease of arable land per capita, dietary changes leading to greater protein intake, and the growing share of the crops production for biofuels.
World biofuel production has grown from 7 million tonnes of barrel equivalent (Mtoe) in 1990 to 60 Mtoe in 2011. According to some estimates, this number could grow to 188 Mtoe by 2030.
The fertilizer fundamentals are based on depleted fertilizer inventories and high grain prices that make them more affordable.