Bill Gates Loves Fertilizer

The following commentary does not necessarily reflect the views of AgWeb or Farm Journal. The opinions expressed below are the author's own.

For ag retail, fertilizer is a foundation in the products and services provided to farmers, but it’s also an input that is changing rapidly thanks to technology, stewardship initiatives, and government regulation.

Fertilizer is a big deal. Globally, it’s three times larger in sales than crop protection or seed individually. And while its role in production ag in the U.S. and other developed markets is well recognized, developing countries and ag economies still have gains to make.

Which is what led to Bill Gates saying the highlight of his trip to Tanzania was visiting a Yara fertilizer warehouse with the capacity for 350,000 metric tons of fertilizer. Read more in Gates’ blog here.

He sees fertilizer as sowing rich ground for growth across the African continent. Since 80% of the workforce in Tanzania is involved in agriculture, improving crop nutrition will spread quickly to other areas of the economy.

He departed the country energized by the potential of fertilizer use, saying “It was exciting to think about the farmers who would use them and the positive impact the fertilizer would have on their next harvests and their country’s future.”

Here's a video overview of his visit and perspective on fertilizer: 

On a recent visit with a retailer here in the U.S., they were showing me their dry fertilizer facility which had opened in the past 18 months. They were proud, and I was excited for them. Perhaps ag retailers and me have something in common with Bill Gates? We can all get excited about dry bulk fertilizer and see its potential.