The European Commission’s decision in December to prolong anti-dumping tariffs on ammonium nitrate from Russia for another five years “has contributed to the recent hike in the price of nitrogen fertiliser”, the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) has claimed.

Commenting, IFA Farm Business and Inputs Committee chairwoman Rose Mary McDonagh said that the commission had “chosen to protect the profitability of European fertiliser producers while farmers face higher input costs”.

Expanding on this, McDonagh said:

In January, merchants were selling SulCAN at €205-220/t. This week prices are up at €240-270/t.

Claiming that Irish and European farmers are “paying over the odds” for fertiliser, the chairwoman said:

“The European Commission is undermining the competitiveness of EU agriculture and destroying farmers’ incomes by enabling a dysfunctional fertiliser market in the EU,” she added.

The IFA says it has “persistently campaigned” for a fairer market for fertilisers, along with its colleagues at the European farm organisation umbrella body COPA, by opposing the renewal of anti-dumping measures which prevent the operation of a fair and transparent market.

Last year, the IFA said it wrote to Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski highlighting “the need to see him come out and defend farmers’ livelihoods by demanding a fairer market for fertiliser inputs. Anti-dumping measures on the import of AN (ammonium nitrate) and UAN (urea ammonium nitrate) fertilisers into the EU achieve just the opposite”.

Turning back to present day, McDonagh said:

Our highest cost is nitrogen, but fertiliser prices are artificially high, and farmers have no say in the matter. The commission has to listen to farmers and recognise the negative economic impact on the users of fertilisers.

“The fertiliser industry is profitable enough; they don’t need further protection with anti-dumping measures,” concluded Ms. McDonagh.