A tit-for-tat trade war between Russia and the EU could have a dramatic impact on Ireland’s fertiliser market, according to a source in the fertiliser industry.

The impact of this, he said, would affect Irish farmers’ ability to produce food cost effectively. “An all-out trade war with Russia is now a distinct possibility. Such a scenario represents a ‘no win’ scenario for Europe. Moscow holds all the cards: energy, fertiliser and a host of other input commodities which the EU’s agri food sectors need to survive. It strikes me that the prospect of spiralling food prices throughout Europe is the last thing which the powers-that-be in Brussles need to contend with at the present time.

“Approximately 25% of all the fertiliser used on the island of Ireland is either manufactured in Russia or supplied by businesses that are under Russian control. And this covers N, P and K. Given that a high proportion of the EU’s indigenous fertiliser manufacturing capacity was moth balled a number of years ago, local fertiliser business have no Plan B if they are cut off from Russian supplies. And the impact on the market for fertilisers in this country, should this scenario unfold, would be dramatic.”

They went on to say that a trade war with Russia is the last thing the EU needs at the present time. “Yes there are problems in terms of the relationship that currently exists between the two regions. But surely a diplomatic solution can be achieved rather than going down the road of a trade war which will simply make life so much more difficult for ordinary people in both Europe and Russia.”

Commenting on the sanctions introduced by Russia, Fertilizers Europe – the body representing the major fertiliser manufacturers in the EU – has informed Agriland that an import ban would not, in the short-term, have any significant influence on the EU fertiliser industry as exports to Russia of finished product are negligible. There are no import bans at present so deliveries of Potash and Phosphate into the EU would not be affected.

Fertilizers Europe’s policy on sanctions is as follows

  • The European fertilizer sector is a responsible industry, and it will follow and support the decisions made by the political leaders in Europe.
  • The industry points to the fact that broad economic sanctions will hurt and make life difficult for industries on both sides.
  • If economic sanctions have to be applied, they should be applied in a surgical manner.