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Irish Farmers facing €1bn fertilizer cost, with no Government Support

Irish farmers are facing a major challenge in paying for the over €1 billion cost of fertilizers this year, with the government only offering limited support in the form of flimsy grant aid schemes, according to West Cork Deputy Michael Collins.

“Irish farmers are facing a daunting bill of over €1bn for fertilizers this year, due to the soaring cost of fertilizers and the lack of government support. Irish farmers use on average 1.6 million tons of imported fertilizers annually, with the cost of imported fertilizers reaching record-high prices, averaging over €800 per ton. The input price index for fertilizers has risen by a staggering 133.8% according to the Central Statistics Office (CSO),” he said.

“This rise in prices is evident in the skyrocketing cost of Urea, which is now close to €1,000 per ton, compared to its average price of €375-€450 per ton over the past decade.”

He said there had been no meaningful decrease in the price of fertiliser, despite record profits for the producers.

“While some farmers may have purchased fertilizers early in the year, the prices at merchant and wholesale levels have yet to experience any meaningful decrease. Despite the fertilizer industry making record profits last year, the prices for end-users are not expected to decrease anytime soon. Despite a drop in gas prices, one of the main inputs in fertilizer production, manufacturers are expected to recover the costs of stock produced at higher prices in 2022 before passing on the savings to end-users,” Deputy Collins said.

“To make matters worse, the government’s Veterinary Medicinal Products, Medicated Feed, and Fertilizers Regulation Bill 2023, which is before the Dail this week, establishes a new National Fertilizer Database, complete with additional inspections by DAFM inspectors and sharing of data with third parties. This database constitutes a significant administrative burden for farmers and is seen as a sneaky attempt by the government to restrict their use of fertilizers in the future”

“The lack of support by the government for farmers to purchase fertilizers is impacting their ability to grow crops and maintain production levels. The fertiliser market is not expected to normalize in the first half of 2023, leaving farmers under serious pressure as they enter the spring and summer growing seasons.”

“The fertilizer industry’s record profits, coupled with the lack of government support, is putting farmers under immense pressure as they try to maintain and grow their operations. The rise in fertilizer prices is affecting their ability to grow crops and produce food, and the government must intervene to provide financial assistance to mitigate this impact.,” concluded Deputy Collins.

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