THE EUROPEAN FERTILIZER INDUSTRY – CONTRIBUTING TO SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
FERTILIZERS PROVIDE FOODâ€Ś Leading scientists estimate that without the process of taking the nitrogen which exists naturally in the atmosphere and using it to produce nitrogen fertilizers, the world would support 40% less people. This means that there would be 2.5 billion less people on earth without the nitrogen fertilizer industry. Fertilizers allow farmers to supplement the nutrients which are already present in the soil, and therefore match the supply of nutrients with the needs of the crops. Fertilizers are, in fact, the only nutrients which can be tailored to meet the crops' exact requirements. They provide guaranteed contents and can be applied as and when required. Fertilizers are a cost-effective means of achieving sustainable crop production and improvements in the quality of food and fodder. The European fertilizer industry offers a wide range of products, each of which contains one or more of the several nutrients required by the plant. The most important of these are nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K), all of which originate from naturally-occurring raw materials.
Agricultureâ€™s role is not only to produce food but also to help provide more sustainable forms of energy and the European Union considers biomass to be a major future source for the production of renewable energy. Fertilizers greatly increase the positive energy balance of agriculture. The use of fertilizers helps farmers produce 4 to 6 times more energy in the form of biomass compared to what is consumed while producing, transporting and applying the fertilizer.
EMPLOYING HIGHLY SKILLED EUROPEAN CITIZENS
The European fertilizer industry employs up to 30,000 employees in the EU-27 and there are 159 fertilizer manufacturing sites.
NATURAL GAS ESSENTIAL IN THE PRODUCTION OF FERTILIZERS
Source: Kemira GrowHow
The European fertilizer industry is the biggest single industrial user of natural gas in the European Union. Natural gas represents 50-70% of the total costs of nitrogen fertilizers. It is obvious that access to competitively priced gas is vital to the continued prosperity of a nitrogen fertilizer industry in Europe. Without a fertilizer industry of its own, Europe would be very vulnerable and would be subject to serious security policy concerns. This is especially important today with the growing challenge of unfair competition based on dual-pricing (the export price is higher than the domestic price) of natural gas from Russia and some countries of the Middle-East and North Africa.
ACTIONS TO ADDRESS SAFETY, HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES
The European fertilizer industry has through the European Fertilizer Manufacturers Association (EFMA) launched a Product Stewardship Program for its members. The principle of the program is that the management of the safety, health and environmental aspects of fertilizer products goes beyond production sites and rather involves activities in the whole supply chain: from raw material sourcing until delivery to the farmer. This approach guarantees that high safety and environmental measures are maintained. Audits are carried out by an independent third party to ensure compliance with the Product Stewardship Program. The production of the fertilizers is carried out using state-of-the-art facilities and meeting high emission and safety standards. The energy efficiency performance of the ammonia installations is one of the best in the world. In all these efforts, The European fertilizer manufacturers are fully committed to being the supplier of choice and delivering products of optimum value to the European farmers.
designwww.landmarks.be PRINTED JULY 2007 - All photos, unless otherwise credited, are from Yara S.A.
In the EU-27, total consumption 2006/07 of nitrogen, phosphate and potash for agricultural use (in million tonnes nutrient) are the following: 10.5, 3.1 and 3.4 respectively. Total capacity figures are greater than those of consumption for agricultural use due to the fact that nutrients are also used for technical purposes.
The European Fertilizer Manufacturers Association (EFMA) represents the major fertilizer manufacturers in Europe. To find out more about the European fertilizer industry and EFMA, contact us: e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org 4/6 avenue E. Van Nieuwenhuyse B-1160 Brussels Tel: +32 (0) 2 675 35 50 Fax: +32 (0) 2 675 39 61 www.efma.org