Economic Impact Report 2020

Essential nutrients



As the world population continues to grow, the fertilizer industry is essential to ensuring we are able to meet rising demand for food. Without fertilizer, global food production would be cut in half.

Last year, 12 per cent of the global food supply depended on Canadian fertilizers. With the COVID-19 pandemic increasing food insecurity internationally, the world will need a sustainable, secure supply of fertilizer as part of its recovery.

Why is fertilizer essential to plant growth?

As plants grow, they take nutrients from the soil. Once the plants are harvested, those nutrients need to be replenished by fertilizer for the next round of seeding.

The main nutrients required for growing crops are: Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), Potassium (K) and Sulphur (S).









Different crops require different balances of nutrients and through innovation, research, and development, the Canadian fertilizer industry is creating new products and technologies in order to better meet these needs.

Potash is essential to Canada’s economy

Canada is the world’s largest producer and exporter of potash, with the second largest reserves of the mineral (1.2 billion tonnes).

Bringing in $5.5 billion in 2018, potash was the third most valuable mineral product in Canada, behind gold ($9.6 billion) and coal ($6.4 billion).

Potash’s value had the highest growth of any mineral product in Canada, increasing by 25.7% due to both higher prices and output.

Nitrogen is essential to global food growth

Plants need nitrogen more than any other essential plant nutrient. Nitrogen was the first element to be identified as an essential element for plants

Nitrogen production in Canada relies on Canadian-sourced natural gas. These feedstocks are the most efficient source for nitrogen fertilizer and add significant value to the Canadian natural gas supply.

Nitrogen makes up 78% of the air we breathe and is a natural element of our atmosphere, air, water, and soil. To be used for growing, nitrogen needs to be combined with hydrogen to make ammonia.


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