Phosphorus is indispensable for agricultural production. Hence, the consumption of imported food indirectly implies the import of phosphorus resources. The global consumption of agricultural products depends on a small number of ore-producing countries. For sustainable management of phosphorus resources, the global supply and demand network should be clarified. In this study, we propose the virtual phosphorus ore requirement as a new indicator of the direct and indirect phosphorus requirements for our society. The virtual phosphorus ore requirement indicates the direct and indirect demands for phosphorus ore transformed into agricultural products and fertilizer. In this study, the virtual phosphorus ore requirement was evaluated for the Japanese economy in 2005. Importantly, the results show that our society requires twice as much phosphorus ore as the domestic demand for fertilizer production. The phosphorus contained in " eaten" agricultural products was only 12% of virtual phosphorus ore requirement.
- Substance flow analysis
- Virtual phosphorus ore