Are we saddling the world with a phosphate shortage? Or will we succeed in using phosphate better?
The world is squeezing the most out of the available supply of phosphate. In the Netherlands, the ground is full of it due to overuse of fertilisers. Meanwhile, poor farmers in Africa are struggling with phosphate shortages. Like petroleum, phosphate is a finite resource; but unlike for fossil fuels, there are no alternatives for phosphate.
Permanent availability of phosphate is essential to food production in the long term. To avoid scarcity, we have to switch to more efficient use and reuse while we still can. And we have to tackle the Striga problem head-on, before this aggressive weed capable of destroying whole harvests is completely out of control. Researchers in Wageningen are conducting scenario studies and research that will help identify solutions.