Fertilizer Crisis Means Higher Prices for Every Plate of Food – by Elizabeth Elkin and Tatiana Freitas (Bloomberg News – November 3, 2021)


(Bloomberg) — Fertilizer is so vital to Walter do Carmo Padua Jr.’s coffee trees that he can’t imagine producing any beans without it. That’s a problem because getting his hands on the stuff is now harder than any time in his 20 years of farming as the world faces record fertilizer prices in the latest threat to food security.

In Brazil’s Minas Gerais state, the coffee heart of the world’s biggest exporter, Padua is still waiting for deliveries on about half the fertilizer he paid for five months ago. After losing about 40% of his crop last year to drought, his farm was then hit by frost. Plants are extremely stressed, and he’s worried production this upcoming season will be even worse than the last if he doesn’t get the fertilizers he needs.

“That’s food for coffee,” Padua said. “Everything goes wrong even when applying fertilizers. Can you imagine if I don’t?” The problems couldn’t have come at a worse time for agricultural supply chains. Global food prices have surged more than 30% in the past 12 months to reach a decade high as climate change ravages crops and the pandemic’s blow snarls production.

Meanwhile, about a 10th of the world already doesn’t have enough to eat. The fertilizer crisis means major staple crops — corn, rice and wheat — are in further jeopardy, sending the Bloomberg Grains Spot Subindex up about 4% in the past month.

For the rest of this article: https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/fertilizer-crisis-means-higher-prices-for-every-plate-of-food-1.1676356