coins with a plant

Growing Pains: How Fertilizer Costs Are Impacting Food Prices

By the Numbers

The raw materials that are used to make fertilizer include things like ammonia, nitrogen, nitrates, and potash, among other substances. Broadly speaking, the prices of these materials are up 30% since the start of 2022. British commodity consultant CRU says that spike exceeds the one observed during the financial crisis of 2008.

Over the past two years, the price of nitrogen fertilizer has risen four times higher, while phosphate and potash prices are three times higher. Analysts explain farmers in developing countries have been able to offset rising costs throughout that time by charging increasingly higher prices for their crops. But nowow, inflationary pressures and supply-chain problems threaten to weigh down demand, putting those same farmers at risk.

Russia-Ukraine Connection

Analysts say Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has played a significant role in rising fertilizer prices over the past several weeks, given both countries are considered important global producers of food and raw materials. For example, Russia was the world’s top exporter of nitrogen fertilizer in 2021.

In all, Russia produces around 14% of the world’s fertilizer supply, and the country has temporarily suspended exports. Neighboring Belarus, an ally of Russia also facing sanctions, is a major producer of potash. Beyond Eastern Europe, economists say a Chinese export ban and Canadian rail strike are also pushing global fertilizer prices higher.

Added Pressure on Food Prices

As the cost of fertilizer rises, food prices do as well, as producers look to protect their profit margins. This added pressure on prices comes as inflation is already at its highest mark in 40 years, with the rising price of energy and food being two of the main contributors. According to the UN Food and Agricultural Index, food prices are currently at an all-time high.

Plus, rising fertilizer prices are just part of why Americans are paying more at the grocery store and in restaurants. Russia and Ukraine are also major producers of grain and oilseeds. Meanwhile, oil prices have risen during the invasion, causing transportation costs to increase as well. It’s a mixed bag of ingredients, and a not-so-tasty recipe for higher food prices.

Things are changing daily within the financial world. Sign up for the SoFi Daily Newsletter to get the latest news updates in your inbox every weekday.

Sign up

Please understand that this information provided is general in nature and shouldn’t be construed as a recommendation or solicitation of any products offered by SoFi’s affiliates and subsidiaries. In addition, this information is by no means meant to provide investment or financial advice, nor is it intended to serve as the basis for any investment decision or recommendation to buy or sell any asset. Keep in mind that investing involves risk, and past performance of an asset never guarantees future results or returns. It’s important for investors to consider their specific financial needs, goals, and risk profile before making an investment decision.
The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. These links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement. No brands or products mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this content.
Communication of SoFi Wealth LLC an SEC Registered Investment Adviser
SoFi isn’t recommending and is not affiliated with the brands or companies displayed. Brands displayed neither endorse or sponsor this article. Third party trademarks and service marks referenced are property of their respective owners.

All your finances.
All in one app.

SoFi QR code, Download now, scan this with your phone’s camera

All your finances.
All in one app.

App Store rating

SoFi iOS App, Download on the App Store SoFi Android App, Get it on Google Play

ABOUT Meg Richardson Meg Richardson is a writer specializing in markets, technology, and personal finance. She loves breaking down seemingly complex ideas and making them readable and interesting for everyone. She holds an MFA in writing from Columbia University. When she is not writing about finance, she enjoys running in Central Park and drawing cartoons.

TLS 1.2 Encrypted
Equal Housing Lender