Responding to Global challenges

Resources

Yara engages to improve resource use efficiency, employing its knowledge base and strength in innovation to develop solutions. We support increased food production while safeguarding the environment.
resource use efficiency

Yara has defined the global challenge of resource scarcity as one of the three focal areas in which we can make an impact.

Global Challenge
Agriculture has a vital role in feeding a growing world population. The careful management and efficient use of the global resource base will be decisive for sustainable growth. Main resources traditionally include land, water and energy, as well as crop nutrients.

Although there are abundant areas of land available, not all is suited for farming. Also, we need to avoid land use change, which causes global warming. Increasing agricultural output has to be achieved on roughly the same amount of land.

Water is already in short supply in many areas, with competition for it increasing. Agriculture consumes about 70 percent of all fresh water withdrawals, and will have to do with less in the future.

Energy is a key element in modern farming and food processing. Volatile energy pricing, and in many areas lack of infrastructure, affect the value chain of food production and distribution. This includes the production of mineral fertilizers containing nitrogen, which depend on energy supplies. Crop nutrients are vital for plant growth and profitable agriculture, but when nutrients are not replenished after harvesting, the soil is depleted and yields decrease.

Resource use efficiency has to improve along the entire food value chain. Unsustainable use of resources, especially land, contributes to global warming. Climate change contributes to further resource stress – through drought and desertification, erosion and the loss of topsoil and nutrients. The quality of groundwater resources is shrinking in many parts of the world – as are water levels.

Global Response
With the increased awareness of the need for sustainable development, resource use efficiency is high on the agenda. It requires improved agricultural practices, including within land and water management. Green growth requires improved agricultural productivity by way of increased resource use efficiency: more crops per acre, drop of water, and unit of energy.

Improved efficiency can be achieved throughout the food value chain, with agriculture at the center, and the fertilizer industry as a major contributor.

The production of mineral fertilizer carries an environmental footprint, including the use of fossil fuels causing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Fertilizer is a crucial resource in feeding the global population  – about half the food consumed stems from the use of mineral fertilizers. Using fertilizers prevents the escalating land use change that causes GHG emissions on a much larger scale.

While nutrients from fertilizers are vital for plant growth, crops do not absorb all the nutrients applied to the fields. Normally crops take up only about half or even less, depending on local conditions and farm management practices. This means that nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) is an important intervention in sustainable agriculture. By employing best practices, the optimum application of nutrients may be achieved – saving money and reducing emissions, benefitting the farmer and the environment.

Water is crucial for agriculture, and improved water use management is imperative in large parts of the world. Connecting water and nutrients is one key to enhance use efficiency: Fertigation combines irrigation and fertilizer application – helping growers to apply the right kinds of fertilizers in the right amounts at the right time, targeting the plant’s root systems rather than the soil in general.

Yara Impact
Yara is focused on energy efficiency in our own production process and how optimum fertilizer application can support sustainability and green growth. In our global dialogues we are engaged in increasing efficiency along the entire food value chain.

Our contributions to improve agricultural productivity are our main impact on resource management. This can help reduce the pressure to turn forests into farmland, develop rural economies and maximize the output gained from the use of our products.

One of Yara’s key interventions is our knowledge-based Crop Nutrition Concept. We advocate targeted use of mineral fertilizers – tailored to the individual nutritional needs of crops – allowing for precision farming and resource efficiency. We have intensified our innovation related to resource efficiency in general and water scarcity in particular, including opportunities to increase phosphate (P) use efficiency.

We employ our core business in the quest for resource efficiency, creating impact through:
● Optimizing the use of natural gas in the production of mineral fertilizers.
● Product and knowledge development, supporting optimal use and uptake of nutrients.
● Engagement linking resource use efficiency to food security and climate change.

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