The Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has not indicated if the State will bulk buy fertiliser and resell it cheaper to farmers, after the possibility of doing so was raised by the EU Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski.
EU agriculture ministers met on Monday to discuss the measures that can be taken to ease the impact of the high costs and tightened availablility of fertilisers into 2023.
Minister McConalogue cited concerns that fertiliser prices could be distorted if Governments stepped in to buy fertiliser directly from the market.
“Ireland considers the proposals to allow direct Government intervention in the market could risk distortion in prices,” he said.
The minister has yet to respond to an Irish Farmers Journal query on whether his Department will establish a bulk buying scheme of this sort.
He did welcome the Commission’s moves to increase transparency in fertiliser markets, as well as a change in EU rules which means that member states can pay farmers up to €250,000 in state aid.
He stated that he is “open” to hearing proposals on mobilising the €450m EU-wide crisis reserve for farmers dealing with high fertiliser prices over the coming year. The reserve was drawn down this year, when Ireland’s allocation amounted to €15.8m.
“I do not rule out the use of the agricultural crisis reserve to support our farmers,” the Commissioner commented.
In the longer-term, the Commissioner said that the EU will seek to become more self-sufficient in fertiliser manufacturing to avoid dependence on other states “who have shown they cannot be trusted”.