Phosphate is mainly used in the production of fertilizers (85% of world phosphate utilisation). Animal feeds, human food complements (8%), industrial uses (5%) and specialty chemicals (2%) account for the remainder. Global fertilizer demand for phosphate is therefore the main driver for the growth of phosphate rock production as there are no known significant substitutes or alternatives to the application of phosphates in that field.
Increase in World Population
Fertilizer consumption is closely correlated to world population growth. World population has steadily increased in the past 60 years and is expected to reach 9.2 bn in 2050 (source: United Nations) up from 7.2bn currently.
World Population Growth, billion people
Increased Caloric Consumption
An additional factor to fertilizer consumption growth is the worldwide increasing calorie intake per capita. This phenomenon is particularly strong in the developing world with China and India leading the change. High calorie intake diets are becoming widespread with increasing prevalence of meat, dairy, and oilseeds which are all increasing the demand for grain, stockfeeds and agricultural production in general.
Average Diet, kcal/capita per day
Decrease in Arable Land
As arable land expansion is being superseded by population growth, the only possibility left is an increase in agricultural production yields. This is turn is the main driver for the increase in fertiliser usage worldwide.
Total Arable Land and Total Arable Land per Capita