The global increase in cost of fertilisers will hit poorer countries the hardest says Yara International chief executive

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AUTHOR: Fiona Holland

A worldwide fertiliser shortage, which has increased food prices globally, is going to bring a food crisis to developing countries, Svein Tore Holsether, CEO of agricultural product and fertiliser producer Yara International, told the BBC.

The fertiliser shortage is caused by the worldwide increase in gas prices. Fertiliser requires large amounts of gas to be produced and the hike in gas price has meant that Yara International has had to reduce the amount of fertiliser being produced, Holsether said on the BBC’s Today programme.

He said: “It’s impacting food prices all over the world and it hits the wallets of many people. But for some people, especially in the developing world, this is not only a question about the wallet, but it’s a question of life or death.”

The diminished availability of fertiliser means that farmers living and working in poorer countries will struggle to produce large enough crop yields, especially of corn, canola and wheat, said Holsether.

The company relies on the use of gas such as hydropower and natural gas to produce one of their most popular products, ammonia, which is key to the creation of synthetic fertiliser, which in turn enhances crop yields.

Over the past year, the price of producing this product increased drastically due to the hike in gas prices. Holsether told Fortune earlier this month: “To produce a ton of ammonia last summer was $110, and now it’s $1,000. So it’s just incredible.

“I want to say this loud and clear right now, that we risk a very low crop in the next harvest,” Holsether added.

According to Fortune, Yala’s ammonia production has been cut by nearly 40% since September.

Less wind and rain being available for renewable power as well as restarting the global economies during the pandemic, are said to be the major causes for the higher gas prices.

The increase in gas prices has also recently made fizzy drinks more expensive in the UK as CO2 becomes scarcer. This has caused the UK food and drinks industry to call for more help from the Government to tackle the issue.

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