Depletion of phosphate rock reserves and world food crisis: Reality or hoax?
18. Eric Oduor Ochieng, Destaings Nyongesa , Nelson Obange
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Phosphate rock (PR) deposits are the major source of phosphate (P) fertilizers for soil fertility replenishment. The demand for P fertilizers in the year 2014 was 42,706,000 tons and was expected to reach 46,648,000 tons in 2018. Majority of PR deposits are found in only a few countries including Morocco, USA and China. There is however conflicting information on the extent of world PR reserves, therefore, complicating the ability to accurately determine their lifespan. Consequently, proper planning on the utilization of this resource is hampered. Two schools of thought have emerged in regard to the longevity of the PR reserves. Some argue that there is imminent depletion of this resource and the world should therefore be prepared for a looming food crisis. However, based on the most recent estimates of 290 billion tons of PR reserves, some scientists have predicted that the PR reserves will be depleted between the years 2311 and 2411 and therefore conclude that there is no immediate course of alarm. What is not in doubt, however, is the finiteness of PR reserves. Therefore, an approach that encourages society to adopt a sustainable utilization of this phosphate resource should be advocated as an insurance against food insecurity.