Agriculture ministers from across the European Union have called for further measures to ensure that fertiliser is affordable for farmers.

The impact on the markets of the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine was discussed by ministers at the EU’s Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting yesterday (Monday, October 17).

As a result of the war and the energy crisis driven by the disruption of gas supplies from Russia, the prices of key agricultural products and inputs have increased significantly.

Ministers highlighted that along with rising energy and fertiliser prices, farmers are facing challenges of adverse weather conditions and food price inflation.

They said that the affordability of fertiliser is impacting both farmers and fertiliser producers, resulting in a decline in productivity and a potential impact on future harvests.

The ministers welcomed a commitment by the EU Commission to present a plan in November to deal with the high cost of fertiliser.

However, the group called for further measures to be put in place by the EU, including the extension of state aid.

Ministers voiced concerns about the high level of unpredictability around future volumes of agricultural exports from Ukraine along with available storage capacity in the country.

This is despite the EU establishing solidarity lanes allowing goods to leave the country by road and rail, along with the partial unblocking of Ukrainian ports.

Ukraine grain exports
Image source: Minister of Infrastructure in Ukraine, Oleksandr Kubrakov

According to the Ministry of Infrastructure of Ukraine, the country exported almost 7 million tonnes of agricultural products during September; this is an increase of 41% compared to August.

Under the Black Sea Grain Initiative, a deal between Ukraine and Russia brokered by Turkey and the United Nations (UN), 176 ships filled with produce left the Ukrainian ports last month.

3.8 million tonnes was exported through the ports of Odesa, 1.24 million tonnes from the Danube ports, 1.18 million tonnes by rail and 0.64 million tonnes by road.