Ahead of the launch of an IFA-commissioned report next Monday by the Washington-based International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) examining Europe’s fertiliser industry, IFA National Chairman Jer Bergin said IFA expects an urgent investigation by the EU Commission when the report is made public. He called on the Commission to cut input costs to farmers by abolishing duties and border taxes that only serve to protect European fertiliser producers at the expense of farmers.
Jer Bergin said, “Fertiliser is the second biggest expenditure for Irish farmers with an annual spend of over half a billion Euro, and the Commission must take action as family farm incomes are on the floor.The IFPRI report is looking into competition in the EU fertiliser market and the impact that suspending duties would have on the price the farmer pays”.
“The report takes an in-depth look at how the European fertiliser market functions, comparing it to other major agricultural producing regions of the world. It is clear from the data collected that Europe’s market is not functioning as the duties and tariffs protect European manufacturers at the expense of farm families.”
IFA Inputs Project Team Leader James McCarthy, who spearheaded the campaign for the abolition of the duties and tariffs, said, “The ongoing concentration of Europe’s fertiliser manufacturing industry, coupled with greater vertical integration of the sector’s supply chain, has seen farmgate fertiliser prices increase at an unjustified rate, relative to other input costs. The industry historically blamed the disparity on rising energy costs. However, the steep fall in energy prices over the last two years has not been reflected in retail fertiliser prices to the primary producer.”
Fertilisers are farmers’ second highest expenditure item after feed. The combination of rising input costs, particularly for fertiliser, allied with falling commodity prices has decimated family farm incomes. Meanwhile, the net worth of fertiliser manufacturing companies has increased. The imposition of anti-dumping duties and customs tariffs on non-EU fertiliser entering the community is distorting the market by preventing real competition and endangering European agriculture and its export competitiveness. The immediate suspension of anti-dumping duties and customs tariffs would increase competition, reduce farmers’ costs, lift farm family incomes, support jobs in the rural economy while improving the competitiveness of Europe’s agri-food and drinks sector.
Copa and Cogeca are supporting the IFA call for the market situation to be addressed as it impacts unfairly on farm families across all Member States. It is an outdated and inappropriate instrument. Its abolition satisfies the current Commission’s request for measures needed to address the market crises in agricultural sectors.
The Irish Farmers’ Association, represented by National Chairman Jer Bergin, will outline the effects of the unfair market measure as experienced in Ireland and call for support for an immediate suspension of anti-dumping duties and import tariffs on fertilisers in order to address the loss of income currently experienced by Irish and European farmers alike.