UN Food Organisation Predicts Fertiliser Shortage In 2023

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has predicted that the current scarcity and hike in prices of fertiliser globally will spill into 2023.

FAO in a report released on Friday in partnership with World Trade Organisation (WTO) said the fertiliser outlook for the next remains doom as indicators remain the same.

“Overall, international fertiliser supplies are likely to remain restricted in 2022/23 since stocks are low and geopolitical tensions have led to additional supply restrictions, giving rise to concerns about both reduced fertilizer availability and access, as well as adverse effects on food production and food security. 

The organisations said that fertiliser prices, like all commodity markets, are governed by the interaction between supply and demand. On the supply side, there are high and volatile energy prices,  trade interruptions and high transportation costs, and export limitations while on the demand side, there are subsidies and high agricultural prices, resulting in high affordability.

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The report painted a bleak future for Africa where only 3-4% of the world’s fertiliser is used on the continent, and roughly 50% of that amount is used to nitrify the continent’s crucial cash crops. Since some agrarian-based communities have very severe food insecurity issues as indicated by their high prevalence of undernourishment and high food insecurity experience, reductions in fertilizer use would have serious consequences, including compromising their ability to feed themselves. 

“With prohibitive international prices, fast depreciation of currencies against the US Dollar (the currency of trade), appreciation of the Russian ruble (which makes Russian exports more costly), high levels of indebtedness as well as inefficient transportation and marketing infrastructure, there are rising concerns that many African countries will not be able to access international fertilizer markets without external support,” it said.

WikkiTimes recalls that farmers in Nigeria this year bought a bag of Urea fertiliser at prices ranging from N28,000 to N29,000 while a bag of NPK goes for over N30,000 respectively.

Experts attributed the sudden increase in the price of the commodity to the war between Russia and Ukraine

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