are three crucial ingredients apart of today's fertilizers. They consist of:
/ potassium (K)
regard to agriculture, these three elements are essential to maintaining plant
life and producing high yielding crops. The symbols N-P-K are commonly found on
the front of fertilizer packages and are used to communicate to the consumer
the concentration of each element.
purpose is to promote foliage while phosphorus is to provide energy to the
roots of the crop. Potash is necessary for the overall growth and health of the
is a type of potassium carbonate that has served many practical uses for
centuries. For instance, potash was, and still is currently used to
is available as both a naturally occurring element and via leaching process, a
method where ash is used to make a soluble chemical or mineral, in this case
what is called lye, through percolation.
of Potash Sources
the 18th and 19th centuries, sources of mineral potash had yet to be
discovered. Potash was produced using leaching of burned trees settlers often
cut down to establish land for farming. One of the first discoveries of mineral
potash deposits was during the 1860's in Germany which indicated a boundless
availability for potash fertilizer. During this time, Germany was a major
potash exporter until World War I when all German exports were restricted.
Thus, a search for new potash deposits was triggered.
the 1920's the United States took on the role as one of the top countries of
potash production. Deposits had been
found in California, Nevada, and New Mexico.
Ethiopia is one of top potash concentrated countries around the world. It
contains some of the not only largest potash ore deposits but also highly
concentrated, thus making it a more than ideal site for potash mining and recently
one of the main potash mining countries worldwide. While the entire continent
has potash deposits, the area most well known for potash reserves is the
Danakil Depression in Ethiopia. While the depression itself is approximately
150 metres below sea level, the Danakil Depression, which is sometimes referred
to as the Afar Depression or the Afar Triangle, is recognized for its
untypically shallow potash reserves making it easily accessible in comparison
to other reserves. Most typical potash deposits are a result of evaporated sea
basins that have been filled with thousands upon thousands of feet of sediment,
over millions of years, making these sites less readily available, and thereby
more costly to extract, than reserves found in Ethiopia.
main importers of potash include:
potash industry is a very vital sector to the survival of many other
industries, most significantly any divisions of agriculture. For instance, the
farming industry heavily relies on potash fertilizers as demands for food and
grain intensive diets, animal feed, and fiber, continue to boom around the
world, along with the human population. In fact, the United Nations anticipates
that by year 2050 there will be a global population increase by 40 percent,
correspondingly increasing these needs and demands. Meanwhile, it has also been
recorded that arable land, ideal for crop production, is declining worldwide at
average rate of -1 percent, making potash production and potash fertilizers all
the more necessary currently, and for the future.