How much fertiliser is used worldwide?
During the past decades, worldwide application of fertilisers has risen considerable, and will continue to rise. The largest volumes of fertilisers are used in Asia, particularly in China and in India. With great success: In both regions, grain production is markedly increased. According to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the increased application of fertilisers has been the cause of one third of the worldwide increase, and of half of the increase in cereal production India. Fertilisers are therefore considered an important contribution to feeding the world’s population.
The challenge of balanced fertilisation
In order to achieve an optimum supply of nutrients to crops and in order to maintain soil fertility, the application of the nutrients potassium, magnesium, sulphur, phosphorus and nitrogen, as well as of all other necessary trace elements, should always be adapted to local conditions and the crops’ actual nutrient requirements. In many regions of the world, however, the requirements of balanced soil and plant nutrition are not met – with dire consequences for the environment and for soils.
K+S KALI GmbH possesses extensive knowledge on plant nutrition, and within the scope of research co-operations has developed an excellent network of international partners. One of these partnerships is the Institute of Applied Plant Nutrition (IAPN), a co-operative venture with the University of Göttingen, which aims at researching sustainable plant nutrition and at transferring this knowledge to practice.
Why small steps go a long way in Africa
On the African continents, fertiliser consumption is low by global standards. In 2009, a total of 17kg nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus were used per hectare of arable land. With reference to the entire agriculturally used area this level is significantly lower. This results in reduced yields and soil fertility. Due to the low level of yields and fertiliser consumption, even small application produced above-average yield increases.
Passing this expertise on the effect of fertilisation on to smallholders is one of the aspects the Project “Growth for Uganda”. This project is carried out by K+S KALI GmbH together with the Sasakawa Africa Association (SAA).