About Phosphate Fertilizer

Farmers know that phosphorus is an essential nutrient for plant growth.

About Phosphate Fertilizer​

Phosphate fertilizer is used by farmers throughout the United States and around the world to produce the food that feeds a growing world population. Agriculture is a major economic actor in countless communities around the country and a key source of American exports. Farmers know that phosphorus is an essential nutrient for their crops, along with nitrogen, potassium and certain key micronutrients depending on their crop and soil.

Even when farmers can access the fertilizers they need, dramatic increases in the cost of fertilizer hurt their family business and their ability to remain competitive in global markets, especially since their competitors in Brazil, Canada and elsewhere still have access to Moroccan phosphate.

Despite Mosaic’s claim that all phosphate fertilizers are interchangeable—to justify their demand to impose duties on virtually all of them—farmers know that they have specific preferences and needs depending on their soil, crops and other factors. Yet one of the most demanded phosphate fertilizers, MAP, has been very difficult to get since duties are blocking major imports of this key product, and TSP, a phosphate fertilizer without nitrogen that many farmers want to apply in the Fall, is not even produced in the United States. 

Following the COVID-19 pandemic and numerous trade wars, already struggling American farmers now face a limited supply of phosphate fertilizer and increased costs as a result of unjust duties imposed on imported phosphate fertilizer.

The Need for Imports

The United States is not self-sufficient in the production of phosphate fertilizer, and will only grow less so in the future because of declining phosphate reserves, industry consolidation and other pressures.

The largest sources for exportable volumes of phosphate fertilizer are found in five countries, representing 85 percent of all global exports: the United States, Morocco, Russia, China, and Saudi Arabia. U.S. farmers’ access to these key inputs from three of those major producers—Morocco, Russia and China—is now cut off completely or are dramatically reduced because of import duties.  Meanwhile, Mosaic continues to export a substantial share of its own production to farmers elsewhere.

In Morocco—one of America’s oldest allies and home to more than 400 years of phosphate reserves—the OCP Group mines and develops world-leading reserves of phosphate ore into a broad range of plant nutrition products, accounting for more than half of global phosphate exports.

Particularly when you consider that U.S. production has been consolidating and shrinking, and a good portion of it is exported to farmers elsewhere, blocking high-quality and reliable supplies from a centuries-old U.S. ally makes no sense for American farmers.

Meanwhile, to make matters worse, a similar case brought by a major U.S. producer will lead to duties on imports of certain nitrogen fertilizers starting in April 2022.