The world’s population is ever-growing, and so is food consumption. However, the land available for growing crops is limited and shrinking as a ratio to population.
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Over a 20-year period, from 1993–2013, total agricultural land as a percentage of total land fell slightly. Total land largely remains unchanged. The percentage fell from 37.8% in 1993 to 37.7% in 2013, according to the World Bank’s World Development Indicators.
In contrast, the world’s population increased from about 5.3 billion in 1993 to 7.2 billion in 2013. So total arable land available per person obviously shrunk over that time. To put it in perspective, arable land available per person in 1993 was 0.25 hectares (~0.62 acres). In 2013, it was 0.19 hectares (~0.47 acres).
Limited land growth and a growing population is a problem that has given rise to industries that develop technologies and products to counter the very problem described above. Those industries include fertilizers (POT) (AGU)(CF), seeds (MON), herbicides (DD) (DOW), and agricultural equipment (DE). According to the World Bank, in 2014, agriculture accounted for 3.9%, or $3.0 trillion, of the World’s GDP.
In this series, we’ll be taking a close look at the agricultural fertilizer industry and why it serves one of the most important functions in the agricultural sector. We’ll also see what drives the demand for fertilizers and look at some of the fundamentals of companies that serve this sector (MOO).