A farming organisation has called on the government to invest in rebuilding fertiliser manufacturing facilities in Ireland.

The Independent Farmers Organisation of Ireland believes that if Irish agriculture is to be sustainable going forward, an affordable guaranteed supply of chemical fertiliser will be key.

The group noted that the cost of fertiliser globally has been increasing dramatically since last year.

“By May 2022, many of the popular compounds have increased by between 300% and 400% in just 12 months,” it said.

Although recognising the impact of rising natural gas prices and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Independent Farmers claim that costs have also been impacted by price gouging and stock piling.

fertiliser prices yara

Independent Farmers said that some of its dairy farmer members have reduced their fertiliser use by 20%, while some beef farmers have cut back by as much as 80% this year due to the high prices.

The group believes that there will be a significant reduction in yield in grain, horticulture and livestock forage this year.

“In Ireland, we are now fully aware of our vulnerability to the price and availability of imported chemical fertiliser.

“The government decision to close IFI some 20 years ago now looks like a decision that lacked any strategic foresight, leaving Ireland, a country with a long tradition of food production, totally exposed,” the group said.

“Accordingly, we in Independent Farmers call upon the Irish government, to revisit their 2001 decision to outsource fertiliser production and instead to invest in and support rebuilding Irish fertiliser manufacturing capacity.

“This investment will reduce Ireland’s vulnerability to foreign fertiliser imports and will help to avert future food shortages in Ireland going forward,” the group added.

“The national obsession with ‘banning and closing needs’ must be replaced with a new paradigm, one of seeking to improve, and make consumable items more environmentally friendly.

“The unsophisticated ‘hack and slash’ approach of the current government has Ireland headed for self-destruction,” the group claimed.