Local phosphate resources for sustainable development in India, Nepal, Pakistan and Southeast Asia. (CR/02/123N).


Soil degradation and infertility are major constraints to the sustainability of agricultural systems in many developing countries, particularly those located in the tropical humid lowlands of Asia where phosphorus (P) deficiency is recognised as a major constraint to sustainable agricultural productivity. Whereas nitrogen deficits can be restored, at least in part, through the application of organic crop residues and manure or by the use of cover crops, the restoration of soil P-status can only be achieved by the use of phosphate fertilisers. The socio-economic situation for many farmers is, however, such that they are unlikely to be able to afford to purchase manufactured mineral fertilizers required to replenish this deficit. The most vulnerable groups of subsistence farmers, such as those practising shifting cultivation or cultivating marginal lands are already seeing production levels fall as soil fertility declines. Most developing countries in Asia need to meet the needs of growing populations without damaging the resource base. DFID's Sustainable Agriculture Strategy (1995) clearly identifies the need to increase crop yields through the prevention of erosion, the introduction of stable farming systems, improving genetic material, and the use of organic and, inorganic fertilisers.

Agronomists, agricultural economists, renewable natural resources and mineral resources advisers in local and national governments, international bodies including development agencies, and NGOs working with poor farmers, may not be adequately aware of locally available phosphate rock resources and their agronomic potential, as a low-cost source of phosphate. This report presents the third of a series of three regional reviews (covering sub-Saharan Africa, Central and South America and selected countries in Asia) that seek to provide advisers with a concise summary of national and regional information on locally available phosphate resources. The report deals with the following countries: Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam.

The report contains a brief regional review of the phosphate mineral resources of the selected countries including information on phosphate rock and phosphate fertilizer production, consumption, and export.

Eleven country profiles contain summaries of:

Quantity, quality and location of local phosphate rock deposits/sources in each country. Maps indicate the location of the phosphate resources.

Past and current phosphate rock production including export as intermediate/raw materials and local use in agriculture.

Agronomic and agro-economic assessments of rock phosphates and associated phosphate fertilizer products, including information on the soil types and crops likely to show a positive response to direct application of rock phosphate fertilisers.

A summary of the quantity, quality, production, agronomic testing, use and development potential of the phosphate resources, together with their geological type and age is provided in the final section of the report.

Local Phosphate Resources for Sustainable Development is an 'enabling project' which aims to support the context for poverty reduction and elimination. In order to enable poverty alleviation, the project focuses on opportunities for the promotion of local use rather than the export of phosphate. The project cannot ensure that poor communities and farmers will not be adversely affected, for example, by ensuring that areas that are currently used, for whatever purpose, by poor people are not recommended as areas for phosphate rock extraction. Only the appropriate advisers and local authorities can achieve this so the report is directed at these advisers, who work with and on behalf of the poor.

This report is available to download in full colour (1480 kb) and black and white (1480 kb).


Local phosphate resources for sustainable development in India, Nepal, Pakistan and Southeast Asia. (CR/02/123N).

Published 1 January 2002