A Brazilian mining company that is developing potash deposits in South America predicts prices of the fertilizer may rise as much as 25% next year. Vale SA blames higher food prices that are encouraging farmers to boost output. Ruben Fernandes, head of Vale's fertilizer business, says international potash prices may climb to as high as $500 a metric ton in the second half of next year. That's up from about $400 now.
The Paris-based International Fertilizer Industry Association says farmers reduced potash use in vegetable, coffee and grain crops during 2009. The Association calls the trend unsustainable and predicts farmers will increase usage by 4.9% next year.