Zinc can be found almost anywhere: in our daily vitamins, in safeguards for our infrastructure, and as an ingredient that activates our sunscreens. It’s also an important element in the foods we eat, and it is recognised as one of the eight essential micronutrients that crops require for healthy growth and reproduction.
Globally, however, zinc has emerged as the most widespread micronutrient deficiency in soils, affecting more than 50 per cent of the world’s agricultural lands. When a plant or crop is deficient in zinc, that plant isn’t able to perform the vital physiological functions necessary for development, often resulting in delayed maturity, lower crop yield and poor produce quality.
Although zinc-deficient soils are most prevalent in arid, developing regions – such as in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa – zinc deficiency is common throughout developed areas as well, including Europe and North America. When agrarian soil is zinc-deficient, crops aren’t able to reach their full potential, leading to severe limitations in food production. And in those developing nations where zinc deficiency is most severe, crop yield losses as a result of zinc deficiency can have a devastating economic impact on farmers, and can pose a major loss for both families and local economies.