World Markets The Key to the Future of Canada's Potash Industry

CIM Bulletin, 1964

W. G. Scott - Manager, Traffic Research, Canadian Pacific Railway Company, Montreal, Que

The critical engineering and financial problems associated with the initial stages of Canada's potash industry are, for the most part, over. The expansion of current world markets and the development of new markets is the challenge now facing the industry. Saskatchewan's potash deposits are vast. The size of Canada's future potash production will be limited only by the size of the market available. The domestic market is insignificant. The key to accelerated growth, therefore, is the world market. This paper traces the growth trend of world potash consumption in recent years, indicating that if the average annual rate of growth between 1954. and 1962 - 6 per cent - is maintained throughout 1970, consumption will total some 14.5 million tons. Much of the absolute increase in world potash consumption, over the past decade, has taken place in the more highly developed nations of the world. Although the relative growth of potash consumption in the underdeveloped nations has been high, actual tonnage is still small. It is within these nations that population growth will be rapid and the pressure of food shortages acute. Expanded consumption in these nations would seem to afford the greatest hope for accelerated future growth in world consumption. For example, if potash consumption by Asia (excluding Japan), Africa and South America increased to only 10 per cent of Japan's present consumption per acre of cultivated land, and growth in the rest of the world continued at its present annual rate, world potash consumption would total approximately 20 million tons by 1970.1 If consum11tion in these areas increased to 20 per cent that of Japan, consumption in 1970 would exceed 25 million tons. Increased consum11tion, on the scale postulated above, will depend to a large extent on the extension of scientific farming methods throughout these areas and their financial ability to make their latest demand effective. Technical assistance by United Nations agencies should assist in both of these problems. Also, some downward adjustment of price, stemming from the high-grade deposits now available and technological advances in production methods, may well show the demand for potash to be more elastic than most authorities believe it to be.
Keywords: arable land, fertilizer, potash, South America, underdeveloped nations, Consumption, Demand, Fertilizers, Growth, Markets, North, potash, Production, Trends