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World fertilizer prices continue to soar, scientists stress need for fertilizer efficiency
Date:5/25/2008

World fertilizer prices doubled in 2007but the price of phosphate fertilizers then doubled again, and all fertilizer prices rose, in the 3 months from February through April 2008. The effects on global fertilizer prices of the devastating May 12 earthquake in Sichuan Province, Chinaa major production area for nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizersare yet to be determined.

China had already imposed dramatic new export duties on fertilizer, to keep it in the country, effective April 20. New tariffs on nitrogen fertilizers are 130% through September. Tariffs on diammonium phosphate (DAP) and other phosphorus fertilizers are now 135% and will run through December.

Soaring fertilizer prices affect the rural poor the most, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, the worlds poorest region, says Dr. Amit Roy, President and CEO of IFDCan International Center for Soil Fertility and Agricultural Development.

High commodity prices allow commercial farmers in developed countries to cope with high fertilizer prices. But rising food prices generally hurt subsistence farmers, particularly in Africa. Those farmers consume mostor allof their meager harvests.

Those farmers desperately need fertilizers not only to feed their families but also to replenish their nutrient-depleted soils. The current fertilizer situation emphasizes that we need more research to increase fertilizer efficiency.

Soaring prices

The price of DAP increased by five times over the past 15 months. DAP sold for about US $252 per metric ton in January 2007, then almost tripled to $688 by January 2008and doubled again, to about $1,230 per ton over the past 3 months.

The price of muriate of potash (MOP), the most common source of potassium, rose from $172 to $288 in 2007. By late April 2008, MOP sold for $500 per ton.

The price of urea, the worlds most common nitrogen fertilizer, rose from about $277 to $405 per ton in 2007 and is no
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Contact: Dr. Thomas Hargrove
thargrove@ifdc.org
256-381-6600
IFDC
Source:Eurekalert  

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