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Markets & Industries

Our five primary global markets — China, India, other Asia, Latin America and North America — combine to account for nearly 70 percent of the world’s population and over 80 percent of total fertilizer consumption.

Most of the growth in the fertilizer industry is occurring in these markets, with the exception of the more agriculturally-advanced North American market where sales are historically more stable. Consumption has more than doubled in China, India, other Asia and Latin America over the past 20 years, closely matching food production trends in that time.

Market fast facts

China

  • Population 1.4 billion
  • Uses more fertilizer than any country accounting for approximately 30 percent of world consumption
  • Per capita renewable water and land resources are well below global average levels
  • Has an increasing urban population with a rising standard of living
  • Domestic consumption of meat has risen nearly seven-fold in 30 years, while fruit and vegetable consumption is nearly 10 times what it was 30 years ago
  • Government has targeted improved agricultural productivity by modernizing equipment and practices, increasing farmer subsidies, allowing transfer of land-use rights, and raising minimum prices for key commodities
  • Imports approximately 80 percent of its soybean requirements and is becoming increasingly reliant on grain imports, a factor driving growth in Brazil and US crop production
  • Net exports of nitrogen and phosphate but imports over half of its potash requirements

India

  • Population 1.3 billion
  • 18 percent of world population but only 11 percent of its arable land
  • Second largest fertilizer consuming country with around 15 percent of world use
  • Annual fertilizer consumption growth of 4.8 percent this decade
  • Government heavily subsidizes fertilizer for farmers but system is heavily biased to the use of nitrogen
  • Yields typically 20-50 percent of those on equivalent US cropland
  • Food consumption per capita is significantly lower than China and many other Asian countries
  • Per capita renewable water resources are well below global average levels and farmers are heavily reliant on seasonal monsoon rains to support crop production
  • Has no indigenous potash
  • Very poor nutrient balances in India’s soils, insufficient potash applied relative to nitrogen, and more than 70 percent of soils have low to medium potassium content

Other Asia (excluding China and India)

  • Population 1.3 billion (combined)
  • Account for approximately 12 percent of world fertilizer consumption
  • World’s leading producer of oil palm, rubber and a major producer of rice, fruits and vegetables
  • Abundant water resources but limited per capita arable land
  • Indonesia and Malaysia have doubled palm oil production in 10 years
  • Has no indigenous potash

Latin America

  • Population 600 million
  • Account for approximately 11 percent of world fertilizer consumption
  • Abundant land, water and labor make it an agricultural superpower
  • Produces about half of global coffee and soybean supply and approximately 30 percent of the world's sugar production
  • Corn is also grown for export and to feed domestic livestock industry
  • Soils in Brazil are naturally deficient in potassium and require potash to remain productive
  • Limited domestic potash production capability — approximately 80 percent of potash is imported

North America (US and Canada)

  • Population 350 million (combined)
  • Account for approximately 13 percent of world fertilizer consumption
  • Major suppliers of food, fuel and fiber
  • US accounts for about 30 percent of total global trade in wheat, corn, soybeans and cotton
  • Both countries are among the world’s most efficient agricultural producers
  • Rising global food demand and domestic biofuel mandates have created competition for limited farmland
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Last Reviewed: Feb 28, 2014