Food Production: Agriculture Wars

A hostile bid for the world’s largest listed fertilizer company highlights the role of food production in a world experiencing population growth. For decades, an illusion of overabundance prevailed. But the global fertilizer sector has been a focus of merger-and-acquisition activity this year, as alarms over food scarcity, punctuated by short-term price hikes, renew interest in food production. Global potash reserves are concentrated in eight nations and a handful of firms. Dependence on potassium compounds in emerging economies drives concern about a tight, politically charged market. Perhaps no country is more concerned than China, the world’s largest importer, which must feed 20 percent of the world’s population on 7 percent of global arable land. While China has snapped up energy and metals around the world, its agricultural sector has historically avoided foreign markets. Food could be the next geopolitical battleground. – YaleGlobal

Food Production: Agriculture Wars

Javier Blas, Leslie Hook
Monday, September 13, 2010
Eliot Gao provided additional reporting.
Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2010.

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