Global Fertilizer Challenge
Excerpted from White House Fact Sheet – June 17, 2022
Russia’s further invasion of Ukraine has shocked the global food system, showing just how vulnerable it is to disruption. Wheat and fertilizer prices have increased more than 40 percent in some regions, exacerbating food insecurity concerns globally. Even before the invasion, food and fertilizer prices were rising as a result of the combined effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, climate-related impacts, armed conflicts, and low supply-chain resilience. Climate-driven food security shocks will continue to cause food scarcity and suffering if steps are not taken to increase food system resilience.
Inability to access fertilizer hampers agricultural productivity in many low-income countries, while in most major economies, more than 50 percent of fertilizers do not reach the intended crop. A 10 percent reduction in global fertilizer loss and waste would free up more than the total amount of mineral fertilizer used by all African countries. In addition, nitrogen fertilizer production consumes up to 4 percent of global natural gas supply; increasing fertilizer efficiency in the short term and transitioning to more affordable alternatives in the medium term will reduce natural gas dependence. Steps to increase the adoption of innovative, alternative, and efficient fertilizer and cropping practices will alleviate pressure on fertilizer and natural gas supplies, increase fertilizer availability, lower nitrous oxide emissions, and reduce food insecurity globally.
In recent months, as part of a continuing effort to add resilience to the agriculture and food supply chains, the United States has established a $500 million program to support innovative and sustainable U.S. fertilizer production and has strengthened support to farmers for the use of precision agriculture and other techniques to improve fertilizer use efficiency.
To spur broader efforts, President Biden will invite countries to join the United States in launching the Global Fertilizer Challenge with the goal of raising $100 million in new funding by COP 27. The Global Fertilizer Challenge will support innovative research, demonstrations, and training to help countries with high fertilizer usage and loss adopt efficient nutrient management and alternative fertilizers and cropping systems. It will be implemented in partnership with the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate, which now has over 200 government and non-government partners.