Potash is considered one of the three key fertilizer macronutrients other than nitrogen and phosphrous. required to enhance plant health. It is a natural substance which is constantly recycled in the earth. Potash is derived from the name “pot ash” which means the plant ashes are soaked in water in a pot. Previously, potassium was leached from wood ashes and concentrated by evaporating the leachate in large iron-pots. However, this is no longer in practice due to environmental concerns. Potash is a commonly found element in nature and is available in abundance. It is stored in the soil and harvested as salt deposits. The primary difference between potash and potassium-based products is that, the former is often bonded with other chemicals whereas the latter is not. Potassium salts are available in the form of chlorides, sulfates, and nitrates and are used as potash fertilizers.
They are absorbed by the plants and then released as potassium into the crops. Potash fertilizer is essential for plants for its water uptake and for synthesizing plant sugars to be used as food. It is highly useful in the enhancement of crop formulation and quality. Potash fertilizer is also beneficial in order to increase the pH scale in soil, improve the taste of crops and aid the plants to resist diseases. It is not feasible to use potash if the soil is acidic. It is recommended to test the soil before applying potash fertilizer to it. Excessive usage of potassium gets accumulated as salt and can damage the roots. Potash fertilizer is highly used for a variety of crops worldwide where pH scale of the soil is low. Rise in consumption of food due to the growth in population is anticipated to drive the market for potash fertilizer in the near future.
Based on type, potash fertilizers are classified into sulfate of potash (SOP), muriate of potash (MOP), and nitrate of potash. Potassium chloride, also called as muriate of potash, is widely used as potash fertilizer. It is a common source of potassium and is widely used in agriculture. Muriate of potash consists of approximately 50% of potassium.
Potash fertilizers are segmented based on the crops in which they are commonly used, such as cereals & grains, fruits & vegetables, oilseeds & pulses, and turf & ornamental. Usage of potash fertilizer was the highest in cereals & grains in 2016. It is anticipated to remain the dominant crop segment during the forecast period. Cereals & grains are the widely grown crops in most of the regions and are the staple food of majority of the world’s population. Potash fertilizer is used in cereals & grains in order to boost their production. Following cereals & grains, fruits & vegetables is anticipated to exhibit significant CAGR in the consumption of potash fertilizer.
Based on region, Asia Pacific dominated the potash fertilizer market in 2016 and is expected to retain its position between 2017 and 2025. Presence of the most populated countries such as India and China, followed by rise in consumption and demand for food are anticipated to drive the market for potash fertilizer in Asia Pacific. Following Asia Pacific, Latin America is projected to witness significant growth during the forecast period. Brazil, a key exporter of agricultural products, accounted for major consumption of potash fertilize in Latin America. Overall demand for potash fertilizer is expected to remain high during the forecast period.
The potash fertilizer market is highly competitive due to the presence of several global players in it. Some of the key potash fertilizers includes Potash corporation, Mosaic, ICL Ltd, Uralkali, and CF industries.