Fertilizers are a key ingredient used by farmers in the production of our food. The companies that make fertilizers are a major part of the Canadian manufacturing sector, and play an important role in the Canadian economy. The industry actively promotes responsible use of its products and supports efforts to maintain environmental stewardship.
Fertilizer manufactures produce about 24 million tonnes of nitrogen, potash, phosphate and sulphur fertilizers annually in some of the most technologically advanced and safest facilities in the world. The industry’s economic activities contribute $12 billion annually to the Canadian economy, with domestic farm gate sales valued at about $4.2 billion a year. Canada exports fertilizer materials to more than 80 countries, and 95 percent of our potash is exported.
Over 12,000 people in Canada are employed directly by fertilizer companies in highly paid and highly skilled jobs such as engineers, scientists, and tradespeople working in mines, production plants, laboratories, and farm supply outlets. Many more jobs exist in related supply and service industries, such as transport and food processing. Fertilizer is the third highest volume commodity shipped by Canadian railways.
Over the last 40 years, farmland has been lost to the expansion of our cities and towns. Fertilizers allow us to produce more on our existing farmland.
By 2050, the world will need to increase food production by 70 percent. Without fertilizer, global food production would be half of current levels, requiring farmers to grow more food on less land. Fertilizer helps to keep soils around the world productive to supply enough food for the growing population.
Fertilizer is essential to sustainable crop production, for food and renewable fuels to feeding the world’s increasing population.
Canada’s fertilizer manufacturing sector is among the most efficient in the world. In the last twenty years, the industry has achieved significant reduction in emission levels, while total production has increased.
The industry also helps farmers reduce their greenhouse gas emissions while achieving the maximum economic yield from their fields. Applying nitrogen fertilizers correctly reduces the amount of nitrous oxide emissions into the atmosphere.