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Fertilizer is a key piece of the puzzle when it comes to improving agricultural yields in developing countries. Despite widespread recognition of fertilizer's importance, however, many African farmers use substantially less fertilizer than their counterparts in Latin America and Asia. A new article in IFPRI's Insights Magazine examines why this is so, and how increasing competition in the global fertilizer market could help close the gap.
The price of agricultural commodities is determined by many different variables, including production quantities, currency rates, weather events, political or social turmoil, and the price of inputs needed to produce those commodities. Throughout the world, fertilizers are a major agricultural input, and thus a major factor in the price of agricultural commodities.
In the search for effective and sustainable policies to promote fertilizer use, numerous studies (especially those focused on developing regions) identify several supply-side and demand-side constraints at both the regional and country level that limit the development of input markets, and consequently fertilizer uptake.