Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Will there be enough plant nutrients to feed a world of 9 billion in 2050?

Will there be enough plant nutrients to feed a world of 9 billion in 2050? is the central question addressed by a JRC study.

This exercise was based on consultations with experts and a thematic workshop focused on three areas of interest: 
  1. the demand for fertilizers to sustain crop production necessary to feed the world in 2050; 
  2. perspectives on the supply of Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K) to world agriculture and 
  3. the role of innovation and technology in changing the match between demand and supply of fertilizers. 
Implications of the main findings for current EU and international policies were addressed. 
Overall, analysis of existing literature and discussions with major experts and stakeholders led to the conclusion that while the situation is currently not critical with respect to the production and availability of plant nutrients, it is important to remain vigilant

The question of reserves (P and K), access, changing geopolitical conditions, economic development, energy costs (mainly for N) and environmental constraints (N and P) could lead to shortfalls and possibly crisis situations in some regions of the world. The situation of Africa deserves particular attention as production, access and use of fertilizers represent key limiting factors in boosting food production in that continent
European Commission
Joint Research Centre
Directorate for Scientific Policy and Stakeholders relations
Pages: 29 _
Publication year: 2012
© European Union, 2012

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