Sustainable use of phosphorus : EU tender ENV.B1/ETU/2009/0025

J.J. Schroder, D. Cordell, A.L. Smit, A. Rosemarin

    Research output: Book/ReportReportProfessional


    As sustainable phosphorus use will sooner or later become essential for global food security, action is needed. As far as the required actions are concerned, the report has identified short-term and long-term policy options which could improve the current level of phosphorus use efficiency in agriculture. The report emphasizes, however, that policies should not be developed in isolation, let alone for agriculture only, but that all parts of the chain, that is primary production, processing and consumption, should be addressed in an integrative way. The current reliance on imported rock-based phosphorus (‘3 kg P per European citizen per year’) can not be continued in the long run. To become truly sustainable, phosphorus use efficiency must approach a level close to 100% in each chain. Therefore, a full recycling of phosphorus will become a condition sine qua non for global and European food security. The urgency of policies and measures needed for that will be determined by the phosphate rock reserves considered exploitable (including geopolitically and legally accessible), the prevention of accumulation and losses, the size of the global population and its preferences in terms of food, feed, fibers and fuels, and its appreciation of biodiversity. This will require drastic adjustments to the way we manage agriculture, and it may also require adjustments to our society as a whole, including the processing of our ‘wastes’.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationWageningen
    PublisherPlant Research International
    Number of pages122
    Publication statusPublished - 2010

    Publication series

    NameReport / Plant Research International
    PublisherPlant Research International


    • phosphorus
    • cycling
    • sustainability
    • depletion
    • losses
    • rock phosphate
    • use efficiency
    • agricultural policy
    • european union

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  • Cite this

    Schroder, J. J., Cordell, D., Smit, A. L., & Rosemarin, A. (2010). Sustainable use of phosphorus : EU tender ENV.B1/ETU/2009/0025. (Report / Plant Research International; No. 357). Plant Research International.