NutritionNutrition security goes beyond food security by considering a community’s access to essential nutrients, not just calories. Fertilizer plays a role in food security by helping farmers in a given country produce enough food domestically to meet the caloric needs of that country’s population. Yet, fertilizer also plays an important role in nutrition security by facilitating access to a balanced diet that includes all of the essential nutrients – primary, secondary and micronutrients. According to the International Fertilizer Industry Association, micronutrient fertilization programs should target zinc, selenium and boron to ensure sufficient quantities of those nutrients in human diets. This is known as “farming for health.”

The World Health Organization attributes 800,000 deaths each year to zinc deficiency. According to a study conducted for the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, close to 50 percent of the soils in the world where cereal grains are grown are deficient in zinc. Fertilizer helps increase the levels of zinc found in food crops, and it is also key to fighting malnutrition and under-nutrition in humans and animals.