The Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC) is calling on the government to work with the industry to solve the ongoing fertiliser crisis. Several fertiliser manufacturers from the UK and Europe have suspended fertiliser production since the 16th of September due to unprecedented gas prices.
Wholesale gas prices have increased by 250% since January, with a 70% increase since August alone.
This will have an impact on agriculture and food production. Ammonia, fertiliser and CO2 production are needed for growing and processing food and drink products. This includes CO2 for slaughterhouses, fertiliser for farmers and nitric acid in industrial chemicals.
The unprecedented gas prices, combined with uncertainty over the future UK and EU energy policies, is risking a loss of competitiveness on the international market.
The UK is not self-sufficient in fertiliser, with around 40% being supplied by one primary manufacturer, which also supplies 60% of the UK’s CO2. The rest of the UK’s needs is met by imports.
Robert Sheasby, AIC chief executive has called on the government to work with the industry to address the cumulative impact of energy and climate change costs. “The focus must be on the delivery of sustainable UK supply chains and manufacture of inputs, whilst addressing long term competitiveness”.
On supply of fertiliser to the UK’s farming sector, he added: “The industry is working hard on ensuring that supplies are available, but farmers need to make sure that their orders are placed in good time as coupled with the haulage shortfall, service levels may be affected in the short term and forward planning and early communication by prospective purchasers is a prudent policy”.