One of the largest fertilizer companies in the world is warning of an escalating global “food crisis” as farmers struggle to adapt to dwindling supplies of nitrogen fertilizer with the added expectations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

President of Yara International Svein Tore Holsether told stakeholders during a third quarter conference call that global food supplies can’t be maintained if the supply of nitrogen fertilizer continues to tighten. 

“The world’s food supply cannot be maintained without nitrogen,” said Holsether. 

“We are deeply concerned about the state of global agriculture… Yara’s markets have never been more challenging than what we have seen in the past 12 months with European production costs reaching an all-time high.” 

Warnings by Holsether coincide with what many Canadian farmers are experiencing here at home. 

As exclusively reported by True North, agriculture industry experts explained how farmers are struggling to cope with fertilizer scarcity while at the same time being asked by the Liberal government to cut emissions from fertilizer use by 30% – an endeavor which could impact exports. 

“The approach is only being looked at in the context of the emissions standard. We need to take that holistic production intensity approach to ensure that we have a policy framework that delivers economic, environmental and social outcomes that lead to sustainability,” CEO of Global Institute for Food Security Steve Webb told the House of Commons agriculture committee on Sept. 28. 

“Not doing so will paint an inaccurate picture of how sustainable Canadian agriculture is and will lead to public mistrust of our resilient and sustainable agriculture system. This will in turn negatively impact export opportunities.” 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau first introduced the voluntary 30% reduction target in his government’s 2020 climate plan. Polls show that a whopping 72% of farmers believe that their crop yields would plummet should they follow through with the Liberal plan. 

Additionally, some experts say that the target would have a negligible impact on global CO2 levels. According to agrologist and CEO of AGvisorPRO Robert Saik, the target would lead to a reduction of only 0.0028 of 1% of global emission levels. 

Farmers in Ontario have also seen fertilizer prices spike by a shocking 238% this year with no signs of relief. 

“For example, farmers across eastern Canada continue to experience uncertain access to fertilizer and recognize that scarcity of this essential input is potentially a reality for years to come,” executive director of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture Scott Ross told the Sept. 28 committee.