Fertilizer Innovations Key to Feeding a Growing Population
Development and Innovation Learn what fertilizer can do to help grow food smarter for the world’s increasing population.
The fertilizer industry has been focused on innovation for decades and, with the guidance of Fertilizer Canada, has been promoting nutrient stewardship, sustainability, and safety while contributing to an adequate global food supply.
As the global population continues to grow, reaching 9.7 billion by the year 2050, the ability to provide citizens across the world with a food supply that is safe, healthy, and nutritious will become an even greater challenge as farmable land continues to shrink. This means the challenge will be met not by growing more food, but by growing smarter and maximizing the yield garnered from available land.
The world looks to Canada for a safe, nutritious food supply
More than 75 percent of future growth in crop production is expected to come from increased yields — increases that can be achieved only with the help of fertilizers. As a world leader in fertilizer production, Canada will be relied upon heavily to feed the world’s growing population. Canadian fertilizer, including more than 95 percent of the country’s potash production, is exported to more than 80 countries across the globe, providing 12 percent of the world’s total supply.
“The Canadian fertilizer industry is an indispensable component of meeting the world’s current and future food needs,” says Garth Whyte, President and CEO of Fertilizer Canada. “Without fertilizer, feeding a population of 9.7 billion people would be impossible.”
Innovations key to increasing crop yield
Canada’s leading role in fertilizer production is a direct result of the Canadian fertilizer industry’s relentless focus on innovation. Fertilizer Canada, an industry association representing Canadian manufacturers, wholesalers, and retail distributors of nitrogen, phosphate, and potash fertilizer, works with all industry stakeholders to advance the development and deployment of the best science-based environmental stewardship practices for fertilizers.
“It can be said that the availability and use of manufactured fertilizers was the industrial revolution’s single most important innovation for feeding a growing population,” says Mr. Whyte. “Without question, innovations in the fertilizer industry have supported agriculture advancement by revolutionizing the way farmers deliver essential nutrients to their crop.”
One of the biggest innovations to originate in Canada is 4R Nutrient Stewardship (Right Source @ the Right Rate, Right Time, and Right Place®). This system was developed to help crop-producers minimize environmental concerns related to agriculture while maximizing economic benefits. 4R Nutrient Stewardship research provides crop producers with science-based information and advice on how to use best management practices to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, and address other environmental impacts when they apply fertilizer.
“The objective of a 4R fertilizer management practice is to increase nutrient use efficiency,” says Dalhousie University professor Dr. David Burton. “This presents the opportunity to either increase crop production or maintain levels of crop production with decreased nutrient inputs, by getting more nutrients into the plants and having less lost to air or water.”
Moving forward, innovations such as the made-in-Canada 4R Nutrient Stewardship program will be an essential part of providing the world with a safe, sustainable, and nutritious food supply. And, as has been the case for decades, Fertilizer Canada will be at the forefront of creating and implementing new innovations that will secure our future global food supply.