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Prices for crop nutrients soar to records as the global energy squeeze hits production.

Fertilizer is so vital to Walter do Carmo Padua Jr.’s coffee trees that he can’t imagine producing any beans without it. That’s a problem because getting his hands on the stuff is now harder than any time in his 20 years of farming as the world faces record fertilizer prices in the latest threat to food security.

In Brazil’s Minas Gerais state, the coffee heart of the world’s biggest exporter, Padua is still waiting for deliveries on about half the fertilizer he paid for five months ago. After losing about 40% of his crop last year to drought, his farm was then hit by frost. Plants are extremely stressed, and he’s worried production this upcoming season will be even worse than the last if he doesn’t get the fertilizers he needs. […]


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