As we saw in the previous part of this series, fertilizer is the single most important catalyst in improving crop yield. So fertilizer usage has increased around the globe in the past century.
The above graph shows how global fertilizer[1. NPK (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium) fertilizers] consumption has increased over the years. According to the IFA (International Fertilizer Industry Association), fertilizer consumption in the 2010–2011 season was 173.0 million tons. It was close to zero about 90 years ago.
The above graph shows a fall in fertilizer consumption in the early 1990s. That was due to the collapse of the former Soviet Union, according to the IFA.
About 70.0% of the 173.0 million tons of fertilizer was consumed by developing countries. The remaining was consumed by developed countries. Let’s look at fertilizer[2. NPK fertilizers] consumption by region in the 2010–2011 season.
Consumption by region
The majority of fertilizer consumption in the 2010–2011 season took place in China, with a 29.0% consumption rate, or 50.7 million tons. About 20.0% of consumption came from South Asia, with India as the largest consuming region. Excluding China, consumption in East Asia accounted for 8.0%.
North America consumed about 13.0% of total global fertilizer consumption during the same period. It was followed by Latin America and the Caribbean, which accounted for 10.0%. Brazil and Argentina are key agricultural markets in Latin America.
West and Central Europe along with Eastern Europe and Central Asia contributed 13.0% of the total global consumption.
In the next part, we’ll take a look at various types of fertilizers.