Spatially differentiated nitrogen supply is key in a global food–fertilizer price crisis

Snapp, S and Sapkota, T B and Chamberlin, J and Cox, C M and Gameda, S and Jat, M L and Marenya, P and Mottalebab, K A and Negra, C and Senthilkumar, K and Sida, T S and Singh, U and Stewart, Z P and Tesfaye, K and Govaerts, B (2023) Spatially differentiated nitrogen supply is key in a global food–fertilizer price crisis. Nature Sustainability. 01-11. ISSN 2398-9629

[img] PDF - Published Version
Available under License ["licenses_description_cc_attribution" not defined].

Download (2MB)


A regional geopolitical conflict and sudden massive supply disruptions have revealed vulnerabilities in our global fuel–fertilizer–food nexus. As nitrogen (N) fertilizer price spikes threaten food security, differentiated responses are required to maintain staple cereal yields across over- and underfertilized agricultural systems. Through integrated management of organic and inorganic N sources in high- to low-input cereal production systems, we estimate potential total N-fertilizer savings of 11% in India, 49% in Ethiopia and 44% in Malawi. Shifting to more cost-effective, high-N fertilizer (such as urea), combined with compost and integration of legumes, can optimize N in N-deficient systems. Better targeted and more efficient N-fertilizer use will benefit systems with surplus N. Geospatially differentiated fertilization strategies should prioritize high-N fertilizer supply to low-yield, N-deficient locations and balanced fertilization of N, P, K and micronutrients in high-yield systems. Nationally, governments can invest in extension and realign subsidies to enable and incentivize improved N management at the farm level.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Global Research Program - Resilient Farm and Food Systems
Uncontrolled Keywords: nitrogen, micronutrients, sub-Saharan Africa, India, Malawi, Ethiopia
Subjects: Others > Cereals
Others > India
Others > Ethiopia
Others > Malawi
Depositing User: Mr Nagaraju T
Date Deposited: 03 Jul 2023 05:46
Last Modified: 03 Jul 2023 05:46
Official URL:
Acknowledgement: This work was carried out by the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT) as part of CIMMYT-led innovation sprint on Climate-Resilient soil fertility management for Agriculture Innovation mission for Climate (AIM4C). Support from the CGIAR initiative Mitigate+: Research for Low Emissions Food Systems is also acknowledged. We thank all funders who supported this research through their contributions to the CGIAR Trust Fund and N. C. Konath for help in data analysis and mapping.
View Statistics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item