Ammonia-based fertilizers made from nitrogen (most of our air, so never in shortage) and natural gas or methane (CH4) make up almost 70% of all fertilizers used to support major agriculture crops such as wheat, corn, rice and even coffee. As natural gas prices have soared by anywhere from 300% to 500% over the past months, this has had a devastating impact on world fertilizer production where some 80% of the cost of making ammonia fertilizers is due to natural gas.
This crisis is snowballing. As of early October reported closures of ammonia fertilizer production had been announced by the giant German chemicals company, BASF, in Belgium and Germany, indefinitely. It also affects production of ammonia-based diesel fuel additive, AdBlue.
Today estimates are that perhaps half the global population is dependent on nitrogen fertilizers. According to studies published in the scientific journal, Nature, 48 percent of the world population in 2008 was dependent on nitrogen fertilizers for their daily access to food. “This means that nitrogen fertilizers in 2015 provided food security for 3,5 billion people who would otherwise have starved to death.”AN ENGINEERED FERTILIZER SHORTAGE? – New Human New Earth Communities