PhD Thesis


Without the continuous inputs of fertilizers based on mineral raw materials we could not produce food at current global yields. My PhD thesis deals with one of the three main nutrients: phosphorus, which is derived from the raw material phosphate rock. My research departs from the price spikes in phosphate rock and fertilizer prices between 2007 and 2012 that put the problem of phosphorus supply on the political agenda. On the one hand, I am interested in the question of how higher fertilizer prices have impacted food production and changed dynamics between farmers and fertilizer companies and/or retailers. On the other hand, I am interested in different strategies to secure a stable phosphorus supply, such as technological innovations and the access to new phosphate rock deposits. Here I put a particular emphasis on the political governance in different jurisdictions that enable or discourage the access to phosphate rock. I am specifically looking at new mining projects in Peru, a country that started commercially producing phosphate rock as late as 2010. Furthermore, I am interested in dynamics in the USA, which was the leading producer of phosphate rock and phosphatic fertilizers over the course of the 20th century and is currently suffering from increasing production costs.