Thursday, 16 December 2021
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
622. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he envisages a shortage of urea in Ireland during quarter 1 of 2022; if measures are in place to maintain supply at required levels; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [62589/21]
I am aware of the current significant challenges in securing fertiliser and that markets are extremely competitive and challenging.
Fertiliser stocks, including urea, are generally lower now compared to the same period last year. The availability of credit and high costs mean that fertiliser is being imported in smaller quantities. While stocks of fertiliser are lower, it is expected that overall usage and demand will also be lower.
I raised the increasing challenge faced by farmers due to the rising costs of inputs at recent EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council meetings. I called on the EU Commission to consider all options to ease the pressure on farmers at this time, including monitoring the evolution of markets linked to agricultural inputs, particularly in relation to fertilisers; and the question of whether the imposition of anti-dumping duties on fertiliser imports continues to be appropriate and for this matter to be examined as a priority.
In line with the Farm to Fork Strategy, the Climate Action Plan commits to more targeted and reduced use of chemical nitrogen fertiliser while maintaining the same level of grass production through a number of measures including improved soil fertility and greater use of clover and multi-species swards.
I have introduced a number of initiatives to support farmers reduce their dependence on fertiliser including a new initiative to support the planting of multi-species swards and a pilot Soil Sampling Programme. Additionally, I have asked Teagasc to develop a roadmap for farmers to reduce the use of chemical fertilisers on farms.
My Department will continue to support farmers reduce their dependence on fertiliser and my officials will closely monitor the fertiliser market and how it develops in the weeks and months ahead.