Defra calls a crisis meeting in response to rising fertilizer costs

Defra calls a crisis meeting in response to rising fertilizer costs

by Sakina Raj

Earlier this week, the government of UK reportedly announced plans to conduct a crisis management meeting with the country’s farmers in response to skyrocketing fertilizer prices. The move comes as policymakers work to mitigate the impact of growing costs on agriculture and food production.

Prices of ammonium nitrate fertilizer have soared to as much as £1,000 per ton in over the recent weeks, up from £280 per ton it was about a year earlier.

Due to the obvious amount of energy required for gas production, the cost of fertilizer first surged as a result of an increase in prices for wholesale gas.

The crisis in Ukraine has further aggravated the situation, effectively disrupting all Russian imports, and driving up production costs. A recent price increase triggered a panic buying frenzy among some farmers as they feared that the price will continue to rise further.

Earlier on Thursday, the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (Defra) conducted a roundtable meeting with industry representatives from the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board, the National Farmers' Union, the Tenant Farmers Association, and the Country Land and Business Association. 

The conference was chaired by Victoria Prentis, the Minister for Agriculture, to address the pressure farmers are facing as well as the potential solutions to skyrocketing prices.

Alternatives to ammonium nitrate fertilizer, such as those made of organic material, with the use of certain traditional farming practices, such as growing crops without any fertilizer, were expected to be discussed at the meeting.

According to Defra, farmers will be compensated for spreading nitrogen-fixing plants like clovers and legumes, to lower their reliance on synthetic fertilizers.

Several farmers, who are already dealing with higher animal feed and fuel costs, have warned that they will offset the increased costs by purchasing less fertilizer, potentially resulting in lower crop output at a time when cereal supplies are already being impacted by the conflict in Ukraine, which is a major supplier.

Defra has also put any changes to allow the use of urea fertilizer on hold.

Following a state consultation that began in 2020, it was believed that its use would be restricted to minimize air pollution. The regulations will not take effect until April 2023.

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Sakina Raj

Armed with a degree in English Literature, Sakina chose to explore the world of content writing and pursue it as a career. Sakina has been playing with words for over five years now and currently pens down articles for Marketprimes and various other online portals relating to diverse domains. Whe Read more...