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News Article

Mexican Fertilizer Use in Statistics

By Jan Hogewoning | Fri, 04/17/2020 - 13:52

Chemically synthesized fertilizer use is widespread in Mexico. While the downsides are often pointed out, these products have without a doubt played a central role in boosting Mexican agricultural output over 8 decades. To get a better picture of how they are used, see the facts below:


Historical Facts (source 2)

  • 1940s – Start of the Green Revolution in Mexico with development of better varieties of wheat and a high use of chemically synthesized fertilizers and pesticides, leading to fast increases in productivity per hectare.
  • 5 – Reasons for fast growth in fertilizer use: the construction of state plants for fertilizer production, the integration of fertilizer production in state petrochemical growth strategies (1980s), the abundance of natural gas used for the production of nitrogenous fertilizers, the development of state credit and subsidy programs for fertilizer and the decay of soil quality leading to more demand for fertilizer. 


Total Consumption 

  • 3.3, 3.6 and 3.0 percent - The 2018-2022 Latin American annual growth predictions of demand for nitrogen, phosphate and potash. (source 1)
  • 114kg/ha of arable land– Mexican consumption of chemical fertilizer in 2016, up from a low of 53.30kg/ha in 2008. (source 2)
  • 69 percent - The amount of arable land, in Mexico, being farmed with chemical fertilizer in 2015, totaling 15.1 million ha. (source 2)
  • 94 percent - The percentage of irrigated land in Mexico where chemical fertilizer is used. (source 2)


Imports and Exports (source 2)

  • 65 percent - The amount of nitrogen fertilizer Mexico imports, primarily Urea, from China, Russia, Ukraine, Indonesia and Iran. In the case of ammonium sulfate, the largest import volume is from Belgium.
  • 444,500 tons – the amount of superphosphate fertilizer produced by Mexico in 2015, a 1 percent of global production, mostly destined for export to Chile, Brazil, Argentina and Germany.


Consumption per Fertilizer Type (source 2)

  • 57, 25 and 18 percent - Mexican consumption of nitrogenous, phosphates and potassium-based fertilizers, as a percentage of total chemical fertilizers in 2015.
  • 8.3 percent - The increase of potassium fertilizer use in Mexico between 1995 and 2015, primarily due to horticulture use for fruits. Mexico imports mainly from Russia, Canada and Chile.


Usage per Crop (source 2)

  • 57 percent – The surface fertilized for crops in the spring-summer cycle. 20 percent of crops in the autumn-winter cycle and 23 percent being perennial crops.
  • 74 percent - Amount of maize cultivated land with chemical fertilizer in 2015 (total planted maize equals 7.6 million ha)
  • 75 percent - Sorghum land treated with chemical fertilizer (a total planted amount of 1.7 million ha), in 2015.
  • 93 percent - Soy land treated with chemical fertilizer in 2015.
  • Above 90 percent - Wheat and rice land treated with chemical fertilizer in 2015.
  • More than 95 percent - Chemical fertilizer applied to land with chili, potato, onion, tomato and green tomato in 2015. Fertilizer and fertilizer technology vary per crop, producer and region. Those oriented to the market and irrigation systems use most chemicals.
  • 93 percent - Amount of land of sugar cane where chemical fertilizer is used.
  • 51 percent - Land cultivated with beans with chemical fertilizer (1.6 million ha planted) in 2015. This is lower as legumes have a natural nitrogen-fixing mechanism.
  • 34 percent - Amount of coffee land where chemical fertilizer is used (low percentage attributed to new fertilizer policies, market prices and phytosanitary issues, as well as coffee rust disease in part caused by depleted soil).


Use per Region (source 2)

  • 7 - States with most chemical fertilizer used by total volume: Veracruz, Tamaulipas, Chiapas, Michoacan, Chihuahua, Guanajuato and Sinaloa
  • 5 - States with most chemical fertilizer as a percentage of farmed land: Sonora, Sinaloa, Chihuahua, State of Mexico and Michoacan
  • 5 - States with least chemical fertilizer as a percentage of farmed land: Yucatan, San Luis Potosi, Durango and Zacatecas (primarily due to high bean and grass crop production, which requires less nitrogen fertilizer, and the state's lower overall GDP contribution in agriculture)
  • 793kg – The amount of chemical fertilizer used to produce 10 tons/ha of corn in Sinaloa, consisting of 478kg of Urea, 165kg of diammonium phosphate and 150kg of potassium chloride and an investment of US$267 in 2015.


The statistics and information used in this report are sourced from two reports:

1. 'World Fertilizer Trends and Outlook to 2018', Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), published in 2018. See report here

2. 'Reporte de Investigacion: Fertilizantes Quimicos y Biofertilizantes' by Jesus Guzman Flores, published in 2018, for Centro de Estudios para el Desarollo Rural Sustentable y la Soberania Alimentaria (CEDRSSA). See report here

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
FAO, CEDRSSA, Indexmundi
Photo by:   Pixabay
Jan Hogewoning Jan Hogewoning Journalist and Industry Analyst