Budget 2023 must include measures to address the fertiliser crisis and a failure to do so would be “a betrayal of farm families”, Independent TD Carol Nolan has stated.
Deputy Nolan said that fertiliser costs are continuously accumulating for farmers and stated that the government must address this by announcing supports in Budget 2023.
“Failure to do so will be a betrayal not just of Irish farm families but also a betrayal of the very commitment that we need toward maintaining food security for the years ahead,” she said.
The deputy’s comments come following confirmation from the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, that “there is no sign of fertiliser prices easing in the short to medium term”.
Minister McConalogue made the statement above in response to a parliamentary question from Deputy Nolan in the Dáil last week.
The Independent TD asked the minister to outline what steps that the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) has taken to ensure sufficient fertiliser supplies within Ireland in 2023.
Minister McConalogue said that fertiliser imports are largely a commercial matter but added that the DAFM is continuing to engage with the fertiliser industry in relation to next year’s supplies.
He also stated that he has asked the European Commission to keep a close eye on the availability of fertiliser across the EU and be ready to consider measures that would alleviate difficulties caused by supply shortages.
Commenting on the Minister’s reply, Deputy Nolan recognised that steps have been taken to reduce the country’s dependence on chemical fertilisers, but said that farmers cannot completely rely on other options yet.
“The fact remains that there is just not enough capacity, in terms of organic fertilisers and other alternatives to meet the level of demand that exists in Irish farming.
“The ongoing uncertainty and volatility surrounding both the availability and the cost of fertiliser is weighing heavy on farmers’ minds as they see no end in sight to the fertiliser crisis,” she concluded.