Synopsis India, which relies heavily on fertilizer imports, is set to spend about $20 billion to shield farmers from higher prices, up from about $14 billion budgeted in February. Soaring fertilizer costs have rice farmers across Asia scaling back their use, a move that threatens harvests of a staple that feeds half of humanity and could lead to a full-blown food crisis if prices aren't curbed. From India to Vietnam and the Philippines, prices of crop nutrients crucial to boosting food production have doubled or tripled in the past year alone. Lower fertilizer use may mean a smaller crop. The International Rice Research Institute predicts that yields could drop 10% in the next season, translating to a loss of 36 million tons of rice, or the equivalent of feeding 500 million people. That's a "very conservative estimate," said Humnath Bhandari, a senior agricultural economist at the institute, adding that the impact could be far more severe should the war in Ukraine continue. Fertilizer prices have been rising globally due to supply snags, production woes, and more recently the war, which has disrupted trade with Russia, a big supplier of every major type of crop nutrient. The surge in fertilizer costs… Read full this story
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