The demand for food around the world shows no sign of slowing. The number of undernourished people in the world has been on the rise since 2014, reaching an estimated 821 million people in 2017. The UN estimates that the global population will reach 9.7 billion by 2050. To feed that many people, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), estimates that food production and agricultural productivity must increase by 70 percent by 2050.
The FAO estimates that just over a third of the potential land worldwide suitable for crop production is being used, which indicates some scope for further expansion of agricultural land. But a number of forces limit that expansion. Among these are environmental considerations; for example, bringing new land into production results in greenhouse gas emissions and disruption of ecosystems. Another consideration is shortage of suitable land, due to soils, climates, accessibility, the need to preserve forests, policies and other factors.
This is the challenge that Mosaic is helping to tackle. Mosaic’s core business—producing and distributing potash and phosphate fertilizers—helps farmers maintain healthy soils, which in turn contributes to continued productive harvests. Potash is a plant’s main source of potassium. It is one of the four primary nutrients required for plant growth along with nitrogen, phosphate and sulfur. It is used as a highly effective fertilizer routinely in the major food and crop growing regions especially China, Brazil and North America.
Mosaic’s mission—to help the world grow the food it needs—is “embedded in everything we do,” Corrine Ricard, senior vice president, commercial for Mosaic, told TriplePundit recently. “It remains as relevant today as it was when Mosaic was formed 14 years ago.”
Free trade and open access to global agricultural markets are critical to food security, says Ricard. “Farmers around the world depend on Mosaic, and other suppliers, to deliver the crop inputs when and where they are needed, and at an affordable price,” Ricard told us. “In our business, the impact of free trade restrictions and market access disruptions can be felt from mine to market. The simple fact is this: Fertilizer accounts for more than half of all crop yields. This means that constricted access to fertilizer goes well beyond corporate profitability – farmer livelihood, yields and food security are ultimately at risk. “
Mosaic works closely with industry and trade associations to ensure the facts are understood and that those in a position to influence trade discussions and decisions are kept well informed on the topic, Ricard says.
“The reality is that this market perception of new supply has yet to materialize. Global demand continues to increase each year and new production has been slow to come to market.”
According to Ricard, “Mosaic is well positioned to take advantage of the increase in demand, and for the potential expansion into new fertilizer markets in the years ahead. We are a highly efficient, responsible and cost competitive global supplier, and are confident we can continue serve customers well while growing our business for the long-term.”
“We work with our customers to promote the principles of balanced crop nutrition and the 4Rs Nutrient Stewardship Framework: Applying the right source of fertilizer at the right rate, right time and right place,” she says.
“That is why Mosaic is committed to delivering innovative fertilizer products farmers need to help maximize yields and feed a growing population,” Ricard told us. “We focus on developing innovative premium products that help our customers and their growers achieve high yields. And we continue to operate responsibly, working to keep our people and our natural environment safe.”
One such product is MicroEssentials, developed using Fusion technology, which combines key nutrients (N, P, S, Zn) into a single nutritionally balanced granule. As the leading sulfur-enhanced phosphate product on the market, Mosaic reports that MicroEssentials delivers uniform nutrient distribution across the field, increases nutrient uptake into the plant and provides two forms of sulfur (elemental and sulfate sulfur) for season-long sulfur availability and is effective across a variety of cropping systems and soil conditions.
“MicroEssentials has been a success story for Mosaic, delivering value for everyone involved, from Mosaic to the retailer to the farmer,” Ricard says.
Mosaic expects that growth to continue, Ricard says, as more of the Cerrado, the vast savanna ecoregion of Brazil, comes into production and as the country’s farmers, who are prospering today, seek to drive their yields higher.
To support its mission to serve Brazil’s agriculture industry, in 2018 Mosaic completed its acquisition of Vale Fertilizantes, a Brazilian fertilizer company, making Mosaic the leading fertilizer production and distribution company in Brazil. This follows the acquisition in 2014 of Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM)’s fertilizer distribution business in Brazil and Paraguay.
“Mosaic has invested heavily in Brazil,” says Ricard. “Our Vale Fertilizantes acquisition, together with our earlier ADM acquisition, is the cornerstone of our Brazil growth strategy. We are now the largest fertilizer producer in an extremely promising agricultural market.”
Based in southwest Florida, Amy has written about sustainability and the Triple Bottom Line for over 20 years, specializing in sustainability reporting, policy papers and research reports for multinational clients in pharmaceuticals, consumer goods, ICT, tourism and other sectors. She also writes for Ethical Corporation and is a contributor to Creating a Culture of Integrity: Business Ethics for the 21st Century. Connect with Amy on LinkedIn.