‘Fertiliser prices down close to €100/t compared to last year’

Fertiliser prices are set to be down by between €80-100/t compared to this time last year, according to IFA Inputs Project Team Leader John Coughlan.

Trade prices for the raw materials used in the production of chemical fertilisers have been very low over the last two or three months, he said.

These low trade prices meant that Irish suppliers would have purchased fertiliser products at competitive prices in the past few months, he added.

One of the key components in the production of fertilisers is gas, a commodity that’s price has been at an all time low in recent months, Coughlan said.

Due to these factors, Coughlan and the IFA believe that fertiliser prices should remain where they are in the coming months.

However, custom tariffs on non-EU fertiliser imports and anti-dumping duties have meant that leading EU manufacturers have ‘a stranglehold’ on the EU market, he said.

“Fertiliser prices in Ireland and the EU are so far out of line with world market prices. Custom tariffs and anti-dumping duties create an additional €50-60m cost to fertilisers a year for Irish farmers.

“There has to be scope there to get rid of these custom tariffs and anti-dumping duties. If the EU wishes to continue trading on the open market, it has to be open at both ends. 

Irish farmers sell their produce at world market prices and they should be able to purchase their inputs at world market prices as well.

The IFA has been campaigning to the EU Commission to remove barriers such as custom tariffs and anti-dumping duties in order to improve competition within the fertiliser market.

“Our campaign has received a lot of support, but it still on going. We now have the backing of farming organisations in Spain, France and Italy.

“We are hoping that there will be some positive developments in the next couple of months,” Coughlan said.

If custom tariffs on fertiliser imports were removed it would open up the EU market to manufacturers from the US, the Gulf States and possibly Russia, he said.

The increased competition in the EU fertiliser market would then disrupt the power held by European cartels, who have enjoyed substantial profits over the past few years, he said.