The Future of Phosphorus: Implications of Global Fertilizer Scarcity

National stakeholder workshop -14th November 2008, ISF, Sydney

The GPRI hosted a national workshop on the Future of Phosphorus at the Institute for Sustainable Futures in Sydney, Australia on 14th November 2008. The intention of the workshop was to bring together key Australian stakeholders to discuss the implications of global phosphate scarcity (and related sustainability and ethical issues) for Australia’s food production and consumption system and vision possible future scenarios.

The group concluded that a sustainable phosphorus future in the long-term would need to take an integrated perspective on phosphorus, food and other pertinent issues such as water and climate change, which would require substantial restructuring of our institutional and economic systems and building of institutional capacity. The efficiency of phosphorus use throughout the agricultural and food system would also need to be maximised to secure future food needs, considering healthy soils means healthy food and a healthy economy. The vision also called for a ‘Ministry of Food’ reflecting the view that issues of food and resources are not considered sufficiently central in public policy, paying greater attention to health and diets and the resource intensity of producing certain types of food. Ensuring the sources and use of phosphorus were ethical was also paramount, as was building a community base of views, knowledge and preferences.

While there is a concerning lack of data and research in this area, participants highlighted the need for further data collection and research on the role of phosphorus in the economy and opportunities for capturing phosphorus losses for reuse.

Download workshop flyer [note: this is a closed stakeholder workshop] Download background paper
Download workshop synthesis report [available soon]

Photos from the workshop: