Global phosphoric fertilizer market is expected to witness significant growth over the next seven years owing to increasing demand from agricultural industry. Rising food demand coupled with scarce natural resources such as arable land is expected to remain a key driving factor for market growth. Phosphorus improves fruits and vegetables quality and accelerates maturity. Increasing food demand coupled with food security initiatives is anticipated to propel farmers to increase phosphoric fertilizer usage. Growing agricultural exports coupled with increasing frozen food and canned food demand is anticipated to drive demand over the forecast period. In the past, rock phosphate was used as a phosphorus source for plants with acid soils. Limited phosphate rock use owing to low phosphorus amount in the rock and high transportation cost is anticipated to increase market size over the next seven years. Heavy phosphorus dosage has negligible impact on roots since utilized phosphorus ends up getting washed in rain prior to plants intake. This excess phosphorus entering water through storm drains deteriorating water quality is expected to hinder market growth and pose challenges to industry participants. Low oxygen level in water owing to excess phosphorus quantity increases drinking water purification cost. This factor is expected to limit fertilizer usage and compel market players to work on cutting cost.
There are two key inputs for phosphoric acid production namely phosphoric rock and sulfuric acid. This indicates that these two inputs cannot be substituted. Plant nutrients other than phosphorus include nitrogen and potassium which are complimentary and cannot substitute benefits derived from phosphorus. Phosphoric acid can be produced in two ways including wet and dry processes. In dry process, rock phosphate is treated in an electric furnace which produces pure and expensive phosphoric acid often called white acid primarily catering to food and chemical industries. In wet process, phosphate rock is treated with acid producing phosphoric acid and gypsum which is removed as a by-product. Fertilizers using white acid are comparatively expensive owing to its expensive treatment process.
Moroccan government based producer Office Cherifien des Phosphates (OCP) is one of the major player accounting for more than one third of the world phosphate rock exports. OCP entered into an agreement with Brazil based fertilizer producer Fertilizantes Heringer, under which OCP will purchase almost 10 % stakes in Heringer. OCP agreed to buy stakes in Brazil owing to increasing demand in the region while Heringer is aiming at increasing its blending capacity in key markets. China was the largest consumer accounting for one third of the total consumption followed by India. Prominent agriculture sector in Asia Pacific on which, large part of population is dependent has forced framers to increase crop efficiency in order to meet the increasing needs. This is projected to drive phosphoric fertilizer market growth in the region over the forecast period. Key players such as Yara International ASA and EuroChem are expanding capacities in Asia Pacific owing to increasing nutritious food demand in the region. North America is the largest commercial fertilizers producer and exporter after China owing to high economic and technological growth in the region. Domestic fertilizer consumption showed parallel growth as that of crop yields in the region and crop production has increased over time. However, agricultural sector in the region is dealing with various environmental issues. For instance, public perception that excess phosphate from fertilizers is causing algal blooms which result in deteriorating surface water quality. Management practices such as conservation tillage and nutrient management planning controls phosphorus movement ensuring correct phosphorus quantity.
Key players operating in global phosphoric fertilizer industry include Yara International ASA, Omnia, Foskor, Ma'aden Phosphate Company and Sasol Nitro.
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