“At a time when farm prices had begun to increase, they are now being fully eroded by fuel and fertiliser costs.”
That is the key message Independent TD, Richard O’Donoghue, conveyed during a Dáil debate yesterday (Tuesday, December 14th).
During a session entitled ‘European council meeting: statements’, the deputy called on government representatives going to Europe to highlight the “emergency situation” farmers are facing regarding fertiliser prices.
The deputy believes that the current crisis is “all about global politics”.
Fertiliser prices increase
During his address, he said:
“Russia is easily supplying the world with gas, which is used to make fertiliser. Russia is currently supplying China with all the urea that it can produce.”
“Equally, it will supply Europe, but the gas pipeline is not ready. This needs to be highlighted as a matter of priority.”
“If the EU is considering imposing sanctions on Russia, I ask it to bear in mind that Ireland and its agricultural sector will suffer the most through such sanctions.”
He claimed that the Minister of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine “told Teagasc to advise farmers to use different clover swards for grassland management”.
“What he did not say was that clover will not grow without nitrogen and will only grow when the temperature is at least 14°C, which is probably from May onwards. That is too late.”
“New grass will die out without fertiliser. Old grass grows at a temperature of 7°C but is less responsive when it is not fed with fertiliser.”
The deputy then highlighted current fertiliser prices and availability issues.
“Fertiliser currently costs in excess of €900 per tonne. Most outlets are refusing to even quote prices for it. I know of one farmer whose costs went up by 54% this year.”
Rising fuel prices
The deputy then reiterated a point he made regarding rising fuel prices during Leaders’ Questions on Thursday, December 9th, 2021.
He said the EU advised all European countries to reduce taxes, and in response, he added that the government increased taxes “using a percentage model, setting the fuel tax at 56.23%”.
In turn, he said this raised the fuel cost in this country. He argued that the government is now taking €1 per litre in fuel tax from every person in Ireland.
“In 2020, it was taking 81 cents per litre. It raised the tax by 19 cents, giving it an annual turnover from the increased tax on fuel of €5.6 billion when it is giving back €170 million in the ESB.”
“The government is taking €5.6 billion from the people of this country. It should be ashamed of itself,” he concluded.