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EU Commission Imposes Higher Fertiliser Costs on Farmers

The decision by the European Commission to prolong anti-dumping measures on Ammonium Nitrate from Russia for another five years is a further blow to European agriculture as Irish farmers will continue to face high-priced nitrogen fertiliser prices in a market devoid of fair competition.

“It is incredible that a measure introduced in 1995 will now be extended to 2025 in order to assure and protect the profitability of European fertiliser producers while farmers face further decline in income due to higher costs. We believe that if this proposal is unchanged that the extension of the anti-dumping measure will cost European farmers up to €3bn in additional costs (AN and CAN fertiliser).” He said.

“The case put forward by the Commission was full of conjecture and referred to a possible threat of dumping on the European market, with product ‘likely to spill over to the Union market’ but with no concrete evidence.”

Anti-dumping duties are an additional cost charged to companies trying to export product into the European Union where it is decided  by the Commission that the price is below cost and dumping is taking place; on top of a customs duty of 6.5% and transport costs, Ammonium Nitrate from Russia is charged an additional €32.71/tonne and as a result this product is not competitive; does not enter the market in significant quantities; and European manufacturers have a closed and protected market to themselves.

The Commission indicated that it was difficult to assess the precise cost of Ammonium Nitrate for all farms and it was regrettable that due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Commission case team were not in a position to visit the farms of the French farmers who had offered to show the impact first hand of high fertiliser costs on their farms.

“We are paying over the odds for fertiliser in Ireland and Europe and even when natural gas costs decrease, the Commission believes a time lag of five months is acceptable before fertiliser prices show a decrease. Since June 2019, gas prices have declined by 66% but Ammonium Nitrate prices have only fallen 19%.”

Tim Cullinan said, “the Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski has not replied to my letter sent to him in July on this matter.  We need to see him come out and defend farmers’ livelihoods by demanding a fairer market for fertiliser inputs. This decision achieves just the opposite”.

IFA will be lodging a reply ahead of Monday’s deadline.

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