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Ukraine war puts fertiliser minerals to centre of food security debate

A store of potassium chloride in a large wharehouse

The war in Ukraine has propelled the use of minerals as fertilisers in food production to the centre of a global debate about food security. Potash and phosphate rock surged in price after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine last year. As a result western mining companies have been rapidly expanding into fertiliser production. 

Potash and phosphate are popular crop nutrients, as artificial sources of potassium and phosphorus for key commodity crops such as corn and soy. Production is currently concentrated among a few countries, namely Canada, the US, Belarus and Russia. In response to the Ukraine was and the subsequent stockpiling, potash prices soared to their highest level in decades. 

Potash prices rose to their highest levels in a decade just after Russia invaded Ukraine as buyers started to stockpile, but the rise was shortlived because farmers responded by using less potash on their crops. Other external factors are having equal impacts, such as the rising demands for phosphate rock, for its use in batteries used by electric vehicles.

Read more here and see our recent summary on fertiliser production and climate change here

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