There’s nothing like scarcity and supply disruptions to fuel violent price spikes. And there’s nothing like the basic human needs for food and water to light that fuse. Today’s world food supplies run on razor-thin inventories. While the food riots of 2008 have all but disappeared from our short-term memories, the threat of them returning grows stronger with every passing day. According to the World Bank, food prices increased 83% between February 2005 and February 2008. In April 2008, when the United Nation’s World Food Programme warned that a “silent tsunami” of hunger was sweeping the globe because of soaring food prices, it was more than just a clever sound bite tossed off by a bureaucrat: It was a warning that the world’s poor were being squeezed as increasingly higher portions of their family incomes were being spent on the food they required for their very survival. Improved fertilizers will be a key to the solution of this problem. And they won’t just promote crop growth – savvy investors who fertilize their portfolios will be pleased with their profit harvest.
BHP Billiton is among those cashing in.