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MacManus questions Commission on rising fertiliser prices

1 December, 2021 - by Chris MacManus MEP

MacManus questions Commission on rising fertiliser prices

Last night, Sinn Féin MEP Chris MacManus questioned the European Commission, who were attending a sitting of the European Parliament Agricultural Committee, on what can be done about spiralling fertilizer prices. 

MEP MacManus explained to the Commission representatives:

“It does not take an economist to tell you that a functioning market is a balanced one and this is certainly not the case in the fertiliser sector. Price hikes are squeezing farmers and we must look at how we can relieve pressure.”

“One of the major contributing issues to the crises is of course the global increase in gas prices. This is not something we can fix overnight and is not something this committee is likely to solve.”

“In terms of what we can do, we can look at the fertiliser supply coming into Europe. Currently the EU imposes anti-dumping tariffs on nitrogen fertiliser. This makes non-EU products more expensive on the EU market, and is designed to protect EU fertiliser producers.”

“I highlighted that at the beginning of November CAN prices were over €600 a tonne and urea prices were around €900.”

MacManus suggested mechanisms to help farmers, “I fully appreciate the need to protect European business but if their profits, which are in the region of 40%, are resulting in farmers paying over the odds for their product then we need to curb it. My suggestion is to aid farmers by reducing the tariffs on non-EU imports for a limited period; this would increase supply and bring down prices. “

“The Commission confirmed that this option was feasible and it would carry out the necessary review to see how such a measure could operate. It did make it clear this would not be a panacea, as gas costs were still a big factor in the final price, but of course, any money we can put back into farmer’s pockets is worth doing.”

“Sinn Féin believes in the long term we must develop the supply of organic fertilisers and agro-ecological techniques to make us less dependent on nitrogen fertilisers, but in the meantime, farmers need to have access to imports at affordable prices.” ENDS

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