Breakthrough in IFA Campaign to Reduce Cost of Fertiliser

IFA President Joe Healy has welcomed the publication by the EU Commission of a “Notice of initiation of a partial interim review of the anti-dumping measures applicable to imports of ammonium nitrate originating in Russia”.

Mr Healy said, “IFA spearheaded an international campaign over the last two years highlighting the dysfunctionality of the EU’s fertiliser market. Irish and EU farmers have been forced to pay over the odds for mineral fertilisers and this has seriously eroded farmers’ incomes and the competitiveness of EU agriculture.”

“European fertiliser manufacturers have profiteered from this protection over the last decade while farm incomes declined. Duties and tariffs are putting farmers at a significant competitive disadvantage.

“The EU Commission’s move to review anti-dumping measures on ammonium nitrate is an important first step in creating a level playing field.

The abolition of anti-dumping duties and tariffs on non-EU fertiliser imports will help to restore competitiveness to Irish and European agriculture. This move would save Irish farmers an estimated €32m per annum and European farmers €1bn.”

“A report commissioned by the IFA and carried out by the International Food and Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) shows the elimination of duties and tariffs would deliver a significant boost to farm incomes, job creation and rural regeneration.

The report clearly demonstrates that: The EU fertiliser manufacturing industry is highly concentrated. It showed that:

  • EU fertiliser prices are among the highest in the world;
  • This is to the detriment of farmers and food consumers;
  • The imposition of anti-dumping duties and customs tariffs on non-EU fertiliser imports is costing European farmers an estimated €1bn;
  • Prices in Western European countries increased by 123%, while prices in Brazil decreased by 65%; this further suggests that additional factors, such as price fixing and cartels, might be operating in highly concentrated markets such as Western Europe.”

IFA Inputs Team Leader John Coughlan said, “Yara, one of Europe’s leading manufacturers, pushed through seven price increases since the opening of the 2016 / 17 fertiiser marketing year and ahead of peak buying this spring. Other EU manufacturers quickly followed suit.

This saw wholesale EU CAN prices rise by a massive 48%, with Ammonium Nitrate prices up by 40%. This level of price increase was totally unjustified and clearly demonstrated that increased concentration of the industry, coupled with anti-dumping duties and customs tariffs have resulted in a lack of real competition in the EU fertiliser market.

“The continuing rise in input costs, coupled with low commodity prices across many sectors, is eroding family farm incomes. This cost price squeeze is hammering farmers and damaging the competitiveness of Irish and EU agriculture.

“Fertiliser is the second largest expenditure item on Irish farms. Following the introduction of anti-dumping duties in 1994, Irish and EU fertiliser prices have increased at almost double the rate compared to other inputs. This level of increase in anybody’s mind is unsustainable,” John Coughlan said.

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