The Irish Farmers Association (IFA) is calling on the European Commission to take immediate action to address the fertiliser market and prevent a potential “fertiliser crisis” in the coming year.
The IFA claims that the current fertiliser market in Europe is “dysfunctional,” with manufacturers controlling production and farmers facing escalating fertiliser input costs. The imposition of anti-dumping duties on certain fertilisers by the European Commission has eliminated meaningful competition and resulted in some of the highest fertiliser prices globally for farmers.
According to data from the Central Statistics Office, nitrogen fertiliser prices have increased by 11% in the past 12 months up to July. The IFA warns that this upward trend is likely to continue for the rest of the year, largely due to the surge in natural gas prices in Europe, which is a key feedstock for producing urea and nitrate fertilisers.
The IFA has joined forces with COPA and other European farming associations to request the European Commission to suspend the anti-dumping duty on urea ammonium nitrate (UAN), which is estimated to cost European cereal farmers over €200 million annually.
IFA President Tim Cullinan expressed concerns about the “fertiliser crisis” and demanded the immediate suspension of anti-dumping taxes in light of the current gas prices. The soaring gas prices have already led to Yara announcing a 40% reduction in European output due to uneconomical production costs. Additionally, CF Industries closed two fertiliser production plants in the UK recently, with no indication of when production will resume.
Cullinan pointed out that reduced fertiliser output in Europe may necessitate the use of nitrogen fertilisers produced outside the EU, but the imposition of anti-dumping duties on such fertilisers inflates farm gate prices in Europe.
The IFA is urging the EU Commission to take swift action to address the fertiliser market and prevent further escalation of fertiliser prices that could lead to a crisis in 2022.