A recent decision by the European Commission to continue measures to prevent ammonium nitrate from Russia being ‘dumped’ on the EU market has been labelled “a further blow to European agriculture”.

According to the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), Irish farmers will “continue to face high-priced nitrogen fertiliser prices in a market devoid of fair competition” as a result of the decision to prolong the measures for a further five year.

“It is incredible that a measure introduced in 1995 will now be extended to 2025 in order to assure and protect the profitability of European fertiliser producers, while farmers face further decline in income due to higher costs,” Tim Cullinan, the IFA president, argued.

We believe that, if this proposal is unchanged, the extension of the anti-dumping measure will cost European farmers up to €3 billion in additional costs.

“The case put forward by the commission was full of conjecture and referred to a possible threat of dumping on the European market, with product ‘likely to spill over to the union market’, but with no concrete evidence,” Cullinan claimed.

Aammonium nitrate from Russia is charged a customs duty of 6.5% as well as an additional €32.71/t, reducing the products competitiveness.

As a result, it does not enter the European market in significant quantities. According to the IFA president, this means that EU manufacturers have a “closed and protected market to themselves”.

We are paying over the odds for fertiliser in Ireland and Europe, and even when natural gas costs decrease, the commission believes a time lag of five months is acceptable before fertiliser prices show a decrease. Since June 2019, gas prices have declined by 66% but ammonium nitrate prices have only fallen 19%.

Cullinan said he had sent a letter on this issue to the Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski in July, but that he had not received a reply yet.

“We need to see him [Commissioner Wojciechowski] come out and defend farmers’ livelihoods by demanding a fairer market for fertiliser inputs. This decision achieves just the opposite,” Cullinan concluded.