Thursday, 18 February 2021
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
332. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views on the reduced supply and increasing costs of fertiliser products; his plans to take measures to address this issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9294/21]
I understand that there has been an upward trend in fertiliser prices in recent times. While there are a number of factors contributing to these price increases, the major driving factors are increased global demand, rising production costs and issues with supply for certain fertiliser products.
On the demand side, an overall increase in fertiliser use nationally is not expected this year. While fertiliser sales here have been steadily increasing over the last decade, there are generally continuing signs of a levelling off in nitrogen sales in recent years. Growth in sales of fertiliser has been relatively modest over the last four years with sales of nitrogen 2.8% higher in 2020 compared to 2017.
Industry sources indicate that there is no immediate concern with overall fertiliser supplies. It is also worth noting that many farmers have purchased their fertiliser earlier this year than in previous years and are not exposed to the current price increases. However, the tightness of supply and current uncertainty in the market could result in a delayed availability of some fertiliser products and, in particular, urea based products, as the season progresses into March and April.
As a key input in the food production system, my Department will be closely monitoring how the fertiliser market develops in the weeks ahead.