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July 24th, 2019 / The Conversation, UK

By 2030, the world’s population is projected to be about 8.5 billion people. Global food security is a major concern for governments – zero hunger is the second most important of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

However, there is a severe conflict between sustainable food production and the use of nonrenewable resources in agricultural systems, particularly phosphate. Phosphorous is a major mineral nutrient required by crop plants for optimal growth and productivity. Phosphate is the only form of phosphorous that plants can absorb — it is often applied to crops as phosphate fertilizer. 

Phosphate is obtained through rock mining. Seventy per cent of the world’s phosphate reserves are located in North Africa. China, Russia, South Africa and the United States all have limited quantities of the mineral rock. Read more …