Global use of fertilizer, nitrogen, phosphate and potash compounds

According to a study funded by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), global use of fertilizer, composed of nitrogen, phosphate and potash, is expected to increase by 2% by 2024 to meet global food demand.

Global fertilizer use is essential for agricultural production and food security, as these products provide essential nutrients for plant growth.

Currently, according to CVR Partners, the developed world uses fertilizer more intensively than the developing world, but sustained economic growth in emerging markets is increasing food demand and fertilizer use.

In addition, populations in developing countries are adopting more protein-rich diets as their incomes rise, and that consumption requires more grains for animal feed.

As an example, China‘s wheat and coarse grains production is estimated to have increased 42% between 2011 and 2023, but still failed to keep pace with increases in demand, leading China to increase its wheat and coarse grains imports by more than 1,167% over the same period, according to the USDA.

Global use of fertilizer

Global fertilizer demand is driven primarily by grain demand and prices, which, in turn, are driven by population growth, agricultural land per capita, dietary changes in the developing world, and increased consumption of biofuels.

According to the IFA, from 1976 to 2021, global fertilizer demand will grow 2% annually.

Fertilizers are used to improve soil fertility and increase crop productivity.


The United States is the world’s largest exporter of coarse grains, accounting for 25% of world exports and 27% of world production during the fiscal year ended December 31, 2023, according to USDA.

A substantial amount of nitrogen is consumed in the production of these crops to increase yields.

Fertecon Limited estimates that the United States was the third largest consumer and importer of nitrogen fertilizer in the world in 2023.

Fertecon is an agency that provides market information and analysis on fertilizers and fertilizer feedstocks for fertilizer and related industries, as well as international agencies.

It estimates indicate that the United States accounted for 11% of total global nitrogen fertilizer consumption in 2023, with China and India as the top consumers, accounting for 23% and 18% of total global nitrogen fertilizer consumption, respectively.


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