DEAR SIR: The EU Commission, in particular the Directorate General’s executive agencies of Competition and Agriculture, have failed EU citizens and agricultural producers with regard to safeguarding food security.
The Commission’s inability/unwillingness to deal with the anti-competitive practices of major EU fertiliser producers over many years has compounded and exacerbated the financial difficulties facing many family farms and EU citizens today.
Historically, EU farmers spent €19bn/year on plant nutrients, with Irish farmers spending an average of €570m/year.
The annual fertiliser spend equates to approximately half of Ireland’s annual CAP payment.
Preliminary estimates suggest that despite a 20% to 25% reduction in fertiliser use this year, Irish farmers will spend well in excess of €1.2bn.
The annual fertiliser spend equates to approximately half of Ireland’s annual CAP payment
It is clearly evident from Yara’s Q1 financial results for 2022 that certain industry players have engaged, in my view, in what amounts to price gouging at the expense of farm families and ordinary EU citizens.
In addition, its assertion that “focus on maintaining supply to customers and securing continuity in food supply chains” does not stand up to scrutiny, given that it reduced EU ammonia and urea production capacity by 55% during key manufacturing/supply months in the spring, while also effectively stepping out of the Irish market.
The EU, as a matter of priority, should adopt Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s proposal for the creation of a “cartel” of oil consumers and do likewise for “fertiliser consumers” and cap oil, gas and fertiliser prices in what are clearly dysfunctional markets.