Phosphorus plays a major energizer role of plant production, it is crucial to photosynthesis and reproduction and an aid to other yield-developing processes. Different crops require different quantities of phosphate fertilizer, for example a maize crop yielding 6–9 tonnes of grain per hectare requires some 31–50 kg of phosphate fertilizer to be applied, soybean requires about 20–25 kg per hectare.
Phosphate fertilizer consumption is driven by the increasing needs of agricultural growth, which has to feed a global population which has increased by 130% from 1960 to 2011, the decreasing amount of available land, the growing need to produce animal feed, and the growing share of biofuels in the crops output. World consumption of P2O5 contained in fertilizers was projected to grow at a rate of 2.5% per year during the next 5 years, with the largest increases in Asia and South America.
China is the largest consumer and producer of phosphate fertilizers, it is the main factor shaping the phosphate market.
Global phosphate fertilizer (MAP/DAP/TSP) sales volume in 2011 totalled 25.3 million tonnes product (up 1.0% year-on-year).