This article, published on 12 March 2013, expains that "enriching crops by adding a naturally-occurring soil mineral to fertilisers could potentially help to reduce disease and premature death in the African country of Malawi".
"An international study led by academics at The University of Nottingham has shown that dietary deficiency of the mineral selenium is likely to be endemic among the Malawi population.... Resrearchers call for further investigation into the benefits and costs of using selenium-enriched fertilisers and other strategies to boost levels within the country’s food."
This 2012 article discusses a study which states "that farming without the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides could supply needs in some circumstances. But yields are lower than in conventional farming, so producing the bulk of the globe’s diet will require agricultural techniques including the use of fertilizers, the study concludes."
European Fertilizer Industry leaflet
Click on the image above to see a larger version of this booklet from The European Fertilizer Industry.
It highlights some of the benefits they see in the use of fertilizers.