Nutrien CEO says Canada can address food insecurity

Toronto –

Ken Saitz, CEO of Nutrien, said Canada is one of the world’s most It is poised to play a major role in food production.

Seitz spoke in Toronto at an event hosted by the Economic Club of Canada.

He said climate change is redrawing the map of global food production and Canada has an opportunity to play a key role in addressing food insecurity.

The world faces a double problem, says Seitz.

Nutrien is the world’s third largest producer of nitrogen and the largest producer of potash, two key ingredients in commercial fertilizers.

The Saskatoon-based potash and fertilizer company has six potash mines in Saskatchewan with a capacity of over 20 million tons and two large phosphate mines in the United States.

Not only in Canada, but around the world, climate change is making agriculture, an already unpredictable business, even more volatile, Seitz said.

“Here in Canada, growers are experiencing wetter springs and hotter, drier summers, all of which are constraining our irrigation and water, and all the resources we need to manage. he said.

Seitz said farmers need support in the form of incentives to enable them to adopt technologies and new practices to make farming more sustainable. Risk, he said, is a major barrier for farmers dealing with growing uncertainty and managing tight margins.

In an interview after the event, he said the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act, which the Canadian government is being forced to respond to, is a good example of incentives to encourage investment. Nutrien is considering building a clean ammonia plant in Louisiana, and Seitz said the incentives provided by the law have helped give the company the confidence to invest there.

“It’s hard to respond to something as strong as the Inflation Control Act, but perhaps we need to work from there,” said Seitz, calling the federal government’s latest budget a “starting point.”

In his speech, Seitz said he believes carbon capture is an important part of solving the climate problem.

In 2021, Nutrien will begin piloting a new project aimed at helping farmers reduce greenhouse gas emissions, trap and store carbon, measure improvements, and facilitate the purchase and sale of carbon credits. Did.

Pilots are currently working on 750,000 acres across North America, Seitz said Wednesday.

In 2024, Nutrien plans to expand the program to Australia and Brazil, Seitz said after his speech.

Nutrien also has its own emissions targets with a particular focus on its nitrogen portfolio, Seitz said. The company has invested about $50 million in the field so far. The company currently plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in nitrogen production by 1 million tons by the end of this year, he said.

Last year was a tumultuous year for the agricultural business and Nutrien was not immune to ups and downs.

Demand for nutrien potash increased in early 2022 as a result of the war in Ukraine. The increase prompted the company, he said in March, to expand production to meet demand. Most of that additional volume is expected to be produced in the second half of this year.

The increase means more capital spending and more jobs at Nutrien’s Saskatchewan potash mine, the company said in May. announced that it will postpone the production increase to

Nevertheless, Nutrien’s 2022 revenue doubled. This was primarily due to higher selling prices due to global supply uncertainty and record retail performance.

And that production boost, though pushed back, was far from scrapped. The company had previously planned to increase its annual production of potash to 18 million tonnes by 2025, but instead said it would reach that milestone by 2026.

Seitz said the jobs promised at Nutrien’s Saskatchewan mine are aligned with other incremental changes across the supply chain that add production capacity over time.

“So we continue to expand that production, but we have the ability to see the market and match the pace.”

Nutrien was created in 2018 as a result of the merger of Saskatchewan’s PotashCorp and Calgary-based Agrium Inc.

— with file by Amanda Stevenson

This report by the Canadian Press was first published on April 5, 2023.

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