Wednesday, 15 December 2021

Questions (230)

Michael Healy-Rae


230. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if his attention has been drawn to the fact that there is an impending shortage of fertiliser due to the increased cost of the supply and availability of same for farmers in spring 2022; if his Department is putting measures in place to introduce a rescue package to assist farmers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [62285/21]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

I am very aware of the significant increase in fertiliser prices over the last year, particularly in recent months and I know this will be a challenge for many farmers in 2022.

The fertiliser market is largely driven by global supply and demand and, while there are a number of factors influencing fertiliser price, the major driving factors for the increase in prices are increased global demand due to strong growth in agricultural commodity prices, rising production costs due to increased raw material and energy costs, protectionism by global players and issues with supply for certain fertiliser products.

At the November Agriculture and Fisheries Council, I raised the increasing challenge faced by farmers due to the rising costs of inputs. I called on the EU Commission to consider all options to ease the pressure on farmers at this time, including the question of whether the imposition of anti-dumping duties on fertiliser imports continues to be appropriate and for this matter to be examined as a priority.

I recently wrote to the EU Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski asking him to finalise the Commission’s examination of the tariffs.

In line with the Farm to Fork Strategy, the Climate Action Plan commits to more targeted and reduced use of chemical nitrogen fertiliser while maintaining the same level of grass production through a number of measures including improved soil fertility and greater use of clover and multi-species swards.

I have introduced a number of initiatives to support farmers reduce their dependence on fertiliser including a new initiative to support the planting of multi-species swards and a pilot Soil Sampling Programme. Additionally, I have tasked Teagasc with developing a roadmap for farmers to reduce the use of chemical fertilisers on farms.

We will continue to support farmers reduce their dependence on fertiliser and my officials will closely monitor the fertiliser market and how it develops in the weeks and months ahead.