Population growth, climate change, the pandemic and other crises put the need to accelerate food production and food security at the heart of global efforts to achieve sustainable production.
Safer Phosphates supports the fundamental role of fertiliser products in maintaining food security objectives in agricultural practices, while advocating for the optimised and efficient use of nutrients, including prioritising the reduction of the use of fertilisers containing heavy metals, to enable the creation of a sustainable, safe and efficient agri-food system.
The United Nations Committee on World Food Security defines the concept of food security as implying that "all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life”.
To this end, fertilisers play an essential role in food security. Sustainable and efficient application of fertilisers helps to boost the productivity and fertility of soils, boost yields and provide plants with the essential nutrients needed for crop growth.
The benefits of fertilisers are confirmed by the International Code of Conduct for Sustainable Use and Management of Fertilisers of the Food Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO). The code particularly states that fertilisers “contribute to global food security, farmer livelihoods and essential human nutrition”, as well as “prevent deforestation and other land use changes by increasing agricultural productivity, and therefore reducing the need for additional land for cultivation (…) They can also prevent soil degradation and crop failure, especially related to nutrient mining and the absence or underuse of key plant nutrients.”
At the EU level, the Farm to Fork Strategy enshrines the need to "reduce and optimise the use of inputs" such as fertilisers, through its objective of "reducing nutrient losses by at least 50% while ensuring that there is no deterioration of soil fertility".
Sustainability is inextricably linked to food security, and the transition to sustainable food systems, backed by key European policies, must also take into account the need to enhance sufficient, safe and accessible food. Therefore, the most appropriate balance should take into account both objectives - sustainability through reduction targets and food security - by implementing sustainable management practices on how and which fertilisers to use.