The potash market has been experiencing rapid growth and has seen a tremendous increase in demand over the past decade. This trend is driven by population and economic growth, particularly in the developing markets, where growth is forecasted as high as 9 – 10% annually in some areas. In addition, as alternative fuel development emerges, the supply of fertilizer for agricultural needs competes with demand for growing biofuels.
The world has seen a three-fold growth in population over the past century; in 1950 the world population was approximately 2.5 billion and has grown to 6.5 billion today. The United Nations projects that the world's population will reach 9 billion by 2050. This surge in human population will require additional resources to maintain the world demand for high quality agricultural production. As a consequence of improved standards of living for a greater proportion of the global population, increased livestock populations are driving demand for feed grains to manage the supply of quality meats throughout the world.
This expanding need for agricultural output is occurring at the same time as the world’s productive land base is shrinking. As a function of a growing population with a declining base of arable land, the ratio of arable land available per person has declined sharply from 0.42 hectares per person in 1961 to about 0.20 currently, as estimated by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Improved crop yields can only be achieved through the increased application of key nutrients such as potassium.