The Minister for Agriculture; Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, has confirmed that there is ‘no sign of fertiliser prices easing in the short to medium term.’
The Minister was replying to a parliamentary question from the Independent TD for Laois Offaly, Carol Nolan. Deputy Nolan had asked the Minister to outline the steps that he is taking to ensure that there is sufficient supply of fertiliser available within the State for 2023.
In his response, Minister McConalogue stated that whilst fertiliser imports are a commercial matter, his Department ‘continues to actively engage with the fertiliser industry on supply of fertiliser for 2023.’
He went on to say that while there are sufficient stocks of fertiliser at present ‘there are concerns around the cost and availability of fertiliser for 2023.’
The Minister also noted that he had ‘underlined the need to maintain supply chains and to ensure an effective and functioning Single Market and had asked the EU Commission, as part of its work on monitoring markets, ‘to keep a very close eye on the issue of fertiliser availability across the EU and to be ready to consider any measures that may help to alleviate the difficulties caused.’
Commenting on the Minister’s reply, Deputy Nolan said:
“The ongoing uncertainty and volatility surrounding both the availability and the cost of fertiliser is weighing heavy on a farmers minds as they foresee no end in sight to the current fertiliser crisis.”
“I accept that measures are being taken to reduce dependence on chemical fertilisers and I welcome that as part of the mix of solutions that we need; but the fact remains that there is just not enough capacity, in terms of organic fertilisers and other alternatives to meet the level of demand that exists in Irish farming.”
“Today’s Budget must identify measures and supports to meet the exponential costs that are continuously accumulating for farmers in terms of fertiliser prices. Failure to do so will be a betrayal not just of Irish farm families but also a betrayal of the very commitment that we need toward maintaining food security for the years ahead,” concluded Deputy Nolan.