Written answers

Thursday, 31 March 2022

Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Farm Costs

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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461. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the extent to which alternative fertiliser imports can be identified with a view to ensuring a high level of farm production; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17292/22]

Photo of Charlie McConalogueCharlie McConalogue (Donegal, Fianna Fail)
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The Department is actively engaging with industry on fertiliser availability.

Russia is a large global player with regard to the production and export of nitrogen and phosphate fertiliser. Both Russia and Belarus supply some 35% of the world’s supply of potash and Russia also provides up to 6% of urea globally.

In addition, three major global fertiliser companies that have had a direct ownership link to Russian oligarchs that the EU Commission placed on its sanctions list on 9th March, which further exacerbates an already difficult situation, as they provide significant volumes to Europe. In respect of Ireland, 22% of all fertiliser imports in 2021 came from Russia.

The significant price rise for gas over the past six months means that it may not be economical for several European fertiliser plants to continue at full capacity, putting further pressure on supply. More than 40% of EU gas comes from Russia. The absence of these fertiliser supplies on the world market would have a further impact on commodity availability and price.

Sourcing of alternative sources of fertiliser and fertiliser raw materials is challenging and expensive as the rest of the world is also seeking access. However, fertiliser importers are actively competing to ensure that supply continues uninterrupted. North Africa is seen as an alternative source for some fertiliser and raw materials but domestic quotas and longer shipping times are issues of concern.

We continue to actively engage with the main importers of fertiliser and fertiliser raw materials on issues around supply and availability and will continue to monitor the current issues being faced by the sector.

At a meeting of farm organisations on 8th March, I established the National Fodder and Food Security Committee to explore all options to minimise the impact on farms and plan in the short to medium term. This Group continues to meet and support farmers.


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