African phosphate market second largest in the world

Lack of effective substitutes set to drive demand for phosphate-based fertilisers

African Phosphate Market Second Largest in the World
Phosphate based fertilisers

The African phosphate market is the second largest in the world, producing 22% of the world’s phosphate-based fertilisers. The increasing demand for phosphate-based fertilisers will result in the phosphate chemical reagents market growing at a compound annual growth rate of 10.1% between 2011 and 2016.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (, South African and Moroccan Phosphate Chemical Reagents Market, finds that the market earned revenues of $1.10 billion in 2011 and estimates this to reach $1.96 billion in 2016. The phosphate chemical reagents analysed in the research include soda ash, fatty acids and ammonia.

The market in both South Africa and Morocco is growing by volume and revenue, due to increased phosphate mining activities and the rising demand for phosphate-based fertilisers.

“The lack of effective substitutes for phosphates will ensure a constant increase in demand for this raw material for use in fertilisers,” noted Frost & Sullivan’s Chemicals Materials & Food research analyst, Dilshaad Booley. “In Africa, nearly 85% of phosphates mined are used to produce phosphate-based fertilisers.”

The population growth in Africa will mean greater demand for food. And, with African nations striving to achieve self-sufficiency in food production, the demand for fertilisers is set to increase.

However, the lack of adequate government subsidies for farmers is slowing down the growth pace of the fertilisers market. In most cases, fertilisers are too expensive to be used in optimal quantities for maximum product output. In addition, the market for fertilisers in most African countries is deregulated, opening it up to international competition.

“The high cost of fertilisers means that farmers are unable to use the recommended quantities of fertilisers, as it will cause production to be unprofitable, even when reducing the production output,” explained Booley. “A deregulated phosphate-based fertilisers market also means that farmers can purchase the cheapest fertilisers from the international, rather than local, market.”

Both the South African and Moroccan governments will need to offer fertiliser subsidies to new and existing farmers, ensuring improved productivity and greater affordability of locally produced crops. Alternatively, farmers could form unions that support subsidies and enhanced regulation for the fertiliser market.

“Since phosphate-based fertiliser manufacturers in both countries are dominated by government-owned companies, the implementation of subsidies and regulations will protect local fertiliser producers,” concluded Booley. “It will also increase the demand for domestic fertilisers and create more jobs in the agricultural sector along the value chain.”

If you are interested in more information on this study, please send an e-mail with your contact details to Samantha James, Corporate Communications, at


South African and Moroccan Phosphate Chemical Reagents Market is part of theChemicals & Materials Growth Partnership Service programme, which also includes research in the following markets: Egyptian Chemicals Market and, Palm Oil Value Chain and Opportunities in the Personal Care Market in West Africa. All research included in subscriptions provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends that have been evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants.

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