Key factor fertilization: An essential component for global food security
The Russian war of aggression on Ukraine not only raises questions about the future energy supply in Germany and Europe, it also demonstrates the impact of armed conflicts on global food security.
Impact of the war in Ukraine
Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine have so far supplied the world with large volumes of agricultural commodities - such as wheat, corn, barley, and sunflower seeds. Furthermore, Russia and Belarus are major suppliers of fertilizers. Due to war and sanctions, their exports are now significantly restricted. Ports and infrastructure are blocked or destroyed, and in some cases farmland can no longer be cultivated.
Fatal consequences for world nutrition
For potash fertilizers, persistently high demand accompanied by limited supply has already resulted in utilized production capacities and rising prices since the beginning of 2021. The war in Ukraine has further exacerbated this development.
In an interview on the publication of the Q1 2022 figures, K+S Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors Dr. Burkhard Lohr talks about the impact of the Ukraine war on agriculture and the global food situation.
This dynamic situation has global consequences: "The reduced supply and high prices of agricultural commodities do not only have an impact here in Germany," says Dr. Burkhard Lohr, Chairman of the K+S Board of Executive Directors. "They can lead to cruel famines in regions like Africa. That in turn can cause social upheaval, political unrest, and new refugee movements."
Fertilizers are systemically relevant
The EU is now attaching high priority to projects aimed at reducing its dependence on fossil fuels from Russia and other autocratic states. An expansion of arable land is also already on the agenda: On March 23, 2022, the EU Commission approved a derogation allowing the production of food and feed crops on fallow land without farmers having to accept financial losses in greening payments.
At the same time, greater attention is being focused on the supply of plant nutrients and fertilizers to the agricultural industry. After all, Europe is not completely dependent on imports here. Germany has large potash deposits and therefore one of the most important components for fertilization. Domestic deposits are consequently an important factor in guaranteeing supply security in Germany and Europe. Potash fertilization plays a decisive role in enabling farmers to fully exploit their harvest potential and plants to achieve optimum yields.
Supply bottlenecks would have far-reaching consequences. "Fertilizers are systemically relevant," says therefore also the President of the German Farmers' Association Joachim Rukwied and proposes: Germany should build up fertilizer reserves, similar to those for natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas.
Potash - Indispensable not only in agriculture
The products of K+S are used as fertilizers for agriculture, as an intermediate product for the chemical and pharmaceutical industries as well as food and animal nutrition. K+S therefore makes a system-relevant contribution to many industries and to society.
Production bottlenecks in these areas are also already becoming apparent in Germany and Europe due to the loss of supplies from Belarus and Russia. Against this background, the Association of the Potash and Salt Industry (VKS) emphasizes: "There is a need for fundamental, broad social acceptance of mining activities and a suitable political framework to enable sustainable and at the same time competitive potash and salt extraction in the future as well."
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