Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 552777
Title A model for estimating phosphorus requirements of world food production
Author(s) Helin, J.; Weikard, Hans-Peter
Source Agricultural Systems 176 (2019). - ISSN 0308-521X
DOI https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agsy.2019.102666
Department(s) WIMEK
WASS
Environmental Economics and Natural Resources
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2019
Abstract

Continuing growth of world population will require food production to increase significantly in order to satisfy the needs of an increasing number of people. This study focuses on the role of phosphorus, an essential (non-substitutable) nutrient for all primary food production. A major share of the world's phosphorus flows, both mined and recycled, is used in agriculture. This study combines the latest revised population growth predictions of United Nations with food balances, long-run income predictions, and per-country income elasticity estimates to assess the minimum phosphorus needs for food production in the 21st century. We predict countries' crop and animal production, which will play a key role in the future demand for phosphorus. We demonstrate a novel method for estimating the long-run phosphorus demand based on the volume of food production and the phosphorus content of food products. We find a fairly stable demand trajectory for phosphorus on the global level for the medium-variant population growth projection. Thus, by the end of this century, the expected (medium) demographic changes lead to increasing the demand for mined phosphorus up to 23 Mt. per annum (compared to 18 Mt. in 2018). Furthermore, the growth in demand is largely driven by income growth and shifting consumption patterns which could push the expected annual phosphorus demand from 23 Mt. to 52 Mt. by the end of the century.

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