Germany and other European countries and the UK are paying 40% less than Irish farmers for fertiliser, Kerry-based Independent TD, Danny Healy-Rae, has told the Dáil.
According to Healy-Rae, they “pay €500 a tonne for urea while Irish farmers are paying €850 to €900”.
This year, Irish farmers, in his words, will have to pay “unrealistic, exorbitant over the top” prices for fertilisers and for the last number of weeks.
On foot of this, the Independent TD believes that “we do not have enough competition in the fertiliser market”.
This problem, he told the house during Leaders’ Questions, began back in October/ November 2021, months before the Ukrainian war, and prices began to soar after Christmas.
Still, before the war, prices increased further, and some co-ops, he claimed, would not even quote farmers.
“Last March, Kerry farmers could not even get fertiliser for two weeks as it was being held up by the distributors and co-ops so they could increase the price further.”
“It is absolutely ridiculous that many co-ops will not actually quote farmers today for the price per tonne for fertiliser.”
“Think of that; they will not quote the price, only bring it out to ye or bring it yer selves, and we will send ye a bill after.”
“It is very clear that the fertiliser distributors and suppliers are profiteering at the expense of our farmers,” he told the house.
“Urea started out before it went up in price at €380 a tonne in 2021; last year it was €1,000 a tonne, and it is still €900 a tonne now.”
He told the Dáil that fertiliser companies blame the war and that the increased cost of gas was the reason for the increase in production costs.
However, he revealed that there had been a “constant” reduction in the price of natural gas of up to 85% since last September, and likewise, farmers should be seeing a “massive” reduction in the cost of fertiliser.
Healy-Rae has called on An Taoiseach to execute a “high-powered” investigation at a national and European level into the competition and consumer protection commission and the “lack” of competition in the artificial fertiliser industry in Ireland.