WSJ: Farms Are Failing, Fertilizer Costs Up

“Farms are failing and many people are not growing,” said 61-year-old Rodrigo Fierro, who produces avocados, tangerines and oranges on his 10-acre farm in central Colombia. He has seen fertilizer prices double in recent months, he said.


Diammonium phosphate, or DAP, a commonly used phosphate fertilizer, cost $745 per metric ton in December—more than double its 2020 average price. December prices for Eastern European urea, a widely exported nitrogen fertilizer, were nearly four times the 2020 average.

The price-increases stem partly from global energy costs, with the average natural-gas price in Europe for the October-December quarter 10 times as much as that for the year of 2020, according to World Bank data. Nitrogen production facilities rely heavily on natural gas to convert chemical raw materials into finished products, so rises in the natural-gas price often flow through into fertilizer costs. Major fertilizer producers including China, Turkey, Egypt and Russia also curbed exports in the second half of 2021, further pushing up global prices.

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