Fertilisers are essential for maintaining global food production and food security. They help boost productivity and soil fertility, increase yields and provide plants with essential nutrients for growth. 

Phosphate fertilisers contribute to this  objective, as phosphates are a natural source of phosphorus, an element that provides a quarter of the nutrients plants need for growth. While cadmium is naturally present in some rocks mined for phosphate fertilisers, not all fertilisers contain the same level of cadmium. To combine both food security and sustainability objectives, Safer Phosphates strongly supports the use of low-cadmium phosphate fertilisers

Healthy soil – healthy food:
Low-cadmium phosphate fertilisers are the key to sustainable agriculture. Soil health is fundamental for food production. To grow, plants need:

  • Water

  • Essential nutrients

  • Oxygen

  • Nitrogen

  • Phosphorus

  • Potassium

Phosphate is a natural source of phosphorus, an element that provides a quarter of all the nutrients that plants need for their growth and development. Phosphates are necessary to feed the world’s growing population.

Cadmium occurs naturally in some rocks mined for phosphate fertilisers. While some fertilisers contain low levels of cadmium, others contain very high levels. Usage of such fertilizers can lead to the accumulation of cadmium in agricultural land. The heavy metal ends up in the food chain, exposing general populations to incurable diseases such as kidney failure or bone demineralization.

Food regulation has already begun to encompass the control of cadmium content in fertilisers, but more needs to be done to protect the human food chain. 

Phosphates with lower levels of cadmium provide the prospects for safer and more sustainable agriculture.