By Olivia Cooper

WORLDWIDE fertiliser demand is forecast to increase over the next four years, but UK use of ammonia-based products is expected to decline, says market research company, MBD.

In a recent report on the UK fertiliser market, the company concluded that demand will continue to expand rapidly in developing countries like China and South Asia.

But in western Europe, after years of oversupply, factory closures have constrained production.

MBD expects the UK market to grow by 1% a year until 2006, taking sales to just over 1bn.

The growth in organic farming and, potentially, genetic engineering, are yet to have much effect, but remain a “significant threat” in the long term, says the report.

“But one of the most important factors in the UK is the attention to environmental issues.

“Legislation is expected to become increasingly intrusive, particularly with reference to nitrate and phosphorus pollution.”

Nevertheless, the UK remains one of the biggest mineral fertiliser markets in Europe, with NPK forecast to remain the largest sector.