Turkey complains about US and EU sanctions on Belarus fertilizer shipments
The sanctions that were imposed by the United States and the European Union on Belarus, which has always been a critical player in the global potassium fertilizer market, is stirring concerns over food supply and escalating prices, both in Turkey and globally — reports Turkish media Aydinlik. The transit ban on Belarusian potassium fertilizer and its primary manufacturer, Belaruskali, has disrupted supply chains and led to a significant spike in food prices. Before the sanctions, Belarus held approximately a 20% stake in the global potassium fertilizer trade. However, Belaruskali’s share in global production and export plummeted to 10% by mid-2022.
The decline in Belarusian potassium fertilizer production and export has had a profound impact, resulting in a 16.3% (5.9 million tons) decrease in global potassium fertilizer production and a 20.2% (5.8 million tons) decline in global exports compared to the same period in 2021. This downturn has notably affected Africa, where Belarus’s market share in potassium fertilizer dropped from 41.7% to a mere 2.8% in 2022, consequently leading to a 16.1% reduction in grain harvests across the continent.
The scarcity of Belarusian potassium fertilizer in the world market is prompting a decrease in its usage, diminishing crop yields, and driving up food prices. As global food security deteriorates and a shortage of potassium fertilizer emerges in the worldwide market, fertilizer prices are escalating. Metin Güneş, President of Turkey’s Association of Fertilizer Producers, Importers, and Exporters, had foreseen these challenges, stating in February 2022 that sanctions against Belarus would hinder access to potassium fertilizers and lead to price hikes. According to World Bank projections, the average global price of potassium fertilizer is expected to drop from $475 per ton in 2023 to $425 per ton in 2024, which is still a significant increase compared to $221 per ton that the market witnessed on January 1, 2022.