Impact of Coronavirus on International Fertilizer Market

May 18, 2020

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While some normality is returning to Chinese fertilizer and chemical markets, the effect of the virus in several European countries is unclear. While the repercussions of the virus are spreading to other parts of the world, analysts said what happens in China will have major implications for the fertilizer markets.

Analysts said the coronavirus crisis is adding to the uncertainties the global food industry faces as it contemplates new investments and business strategies. They said the long-term outlook for the market will ultimately depend on how quickly governments move to contain the coronavirus outbreak, how successful their efforts are, and what lingering impact the crisis has on agricultural activity.

To this end, the International Fertiliser Development Centre (IFDC), the West Africa Fertiliser Association (WAFA) and, announce the launch of the West Africa COVID-19 Fertiliser Watch. This is to provide statistical and logistical updates to the fertiliser value chain, stakeholders related to COVID-19’s potential impact on the trade-in West Africa.

IFDC, WAFA,, and other partners noted that due to restrictions placed on various forms of travel and trade in many nations in Africa where rates of food insecurity and malnutrition remain high, a prolonged restriction on the import and distribution of agricultural inputs could have a profound negative impact on food production, which could cause a hunger crisis in addition to a sanitary one.

IFDC, WAFA,, and other partners are working to ensure that fertilizers and other agricultural inputs are not limited, but rather supported by governments’ decisions so that they can continue to reach farmers in time for the growing season.

“IFDC considers the most immediate challenge to be a logistical one,” IFDC spokesman and coordinator of the Fertiliser Watch initiative, Patrice Annequin said. “We must all work together to maintain and even increase agricultural production capacity. We can do this by ensuring a free flow of fertilizers and other agro-inputs, from ports to farms, over the next three months, at least.”

The Fertiliser Watch is designed to provide weekly updates to stakeholders using data collected around 10 indicators. These indicators are related to a variety of information such as the spread of COVID-19, measures taken by governments, and logistical constraints that affect fertilizer flows. The goal is a well-informed and prepared fertilizer supply chain, where actors can use the information to plan accordingly and ensure consistent delivery to farmers.

According to the Watch, fertilizer can and are moving in West Africa, despite the general slowdown of the economies, affecting port, road, and retail operations. COVID-19 cases keep increasing, reaching 4,200 cases in the region as of April 9, 2020, and more constraining health, sanitary, and trade measures are expected in the coming weeks to contain the pandemic.

The Fertiliser Watch also provides early estimates of fertilizer stock availability and indications on the demand by country. According to IFDC findings, up to 50 percent of fertilizer demand is not yet available in West Africa, with landlocked countries and smaller markets being at higher risk.



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