‘Fertiliser prices are artificially high and we’ve no say in the matter’

European Commission officials heard arguments from members of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) in recent days centering on the issue of fertiliser imports and associated costs.

Chairman of the IFA Inputs Project Team Tom Short was speaking to DG Trade representatives at a hearing for the expiry review of anti-dumping measures on ammonium nitrate (AN) imports from Russia to the EU.

The chairman told officials that renewing this anti-dumping measure would lead to a continued dysfunctional fertiliser market in the EU.

“Our biggest cost is nitrogen, but fertiliser prices are artificially high and we have no say in the matter,” he said.

The commission has to listen to farmers and recognise the economic impact on the users of fertilisers. The fertiliser industry is profitable enough; it doesn’t need further protection with anti-dumping measures.

The current review and request for a further five-year extension was sought by the European fertiliser producers, the IFA noted.

The disclosure by the European Commission is due in September when a decision must be made whether to continue with a measure that has been in place for 25 years.

Short was supported in his evidence by French arable farmer Cedric Benoist representing AGPB, part of the French farming association FNSEA, who demanded that AN had to be made available at a competitive price in Europe.

Commissioner for Trade Phil Hogan confirmed in a letter to the European Farmers’ Association COPA, and copied to the Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski, that any decision would consider the interest of users, including farmers, and also take into consideration the prevailing market situation.

“Farmers cannot be expected to continue to work harder just to stand still,” Short concluded.