The European Commission has stated that Member States can prioritize continued and uninterrupted access to natural gas for fertilizer producers in their national contingency plans in the event of gas rationing.
However, it decided not to suspend anti-dumping duties on imports of urea ammonium nitrate from outside the EU.
It comes as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a global fertilizer and energy crisis is now weighing on global food security and food prices.
The commission said fertilizers play an important role in food security and depend largely on natural gas for their production and cost.
In this context, the European Commission today presented a communication on ensuring the availability and affordability of fertilizers.
The Communication outlines several best practices and ways to help farmers optimize their use of fertilizers and reduce their dependency while safeguarding yields:
The Commission said member states could prioritize continued and undisturbed access to natural gas for fertilizer manufacturers in their national contingency plans in the event of gas rationing.
The amended state aid rules now allow Member States to provide targeted support to farmers and fertilizer manufacturers.
Funds from measures such as limiting the market income of certain electricity producers can also be used for the purposes of national support programs under the applicable conditions.
The Commission announced that it would examine, together with Member States, the advisability of mobilizing the EUR 450 million agricultural reserve for the 2023 financial year for farmers affected by high input costs.
The Commission will also set up a fertilizer market observatory in 2023 to share data on production, use, prices and trade.
However, a key theme of the communication was efforts to reduce the use of inorganic fertilizers on EU farms.
The Commission will encourage Member States to consider further prioritizing and raising the ambition of such interventions in future reviews of their CAP Strategic Plans.
The Commission will also encourage Member States to support investments in renewable hydrogen and biomethane for ammonia production.
Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal, said: “Russia’s gas armament is having a negative impact on the global fertilizer market, impacting farmers and affecting food security around the world. The Commission is taking action to ease the pressure on farmers inside and outside the EU. The sustainable way forward is to focus on efficiency and alternatives. This will also help ease the pressure on global fertilizer stocks. Likewise, we should seize the opportunity to expand the production of green ammonia made with renewable energy. The more efficient we are and the faster we switch to alternatives to mineral fertilizers, the less dependent we will be on fossil fuels and the more resilient our food system will become.”
Christiane Lambert, President of Copa-Cogeca, said the European Commission is ideologically opposed to offering farmers short-term solutions, which is threatening the viability of many farms.
“What is the point of presenting a new communication to finally come up with so few proposals? I find it difficult to understand the logic of such a communication at the end: for the long-term goals, the Commission’s vision seems to me clear and known since 2019 and the launch of the farm-to-fork strategy. The remaining proposals were already explained in the March communications.”
https://www.independent.ie/business/farming/news/farming-news/member-states-can-prioritise-gas-for-fertiliser-production-eu-42131359.html Member States can prioritize gas for fertilizer production – EU