Food deficiency warning as fertilizer rationed

Sanctions on Russia have raised concerns about availability, leading to food shortages and warnings of heavy price increases, prompting British farmers to resort to fertilizer rationing.

The fertilizer market is expecting a supply pressure and huge increase in prices because Russia is the world’s largest exporter. Last week, the EU imposed sanctions on three major producers, Eurochem, FosAgro and Uralchem.

The sector is already being tested by rising gas prices, which have also been affected by the war in Ukraine because markets were dependent on Russian gas.

The cost of fertilizer needed to grow crops and grass for cattle and lambs has risen from about পা 250 per tonne last year to close to £ 1,000. Farmers told the Times that some fertilizer traders had temporarily closed their order books due to lack of supply while others were rationing the amount they could buy.

Gavin Lane, a cultivator in West Norfolk and vice-president of the Country Land and Business Association, says he was limited to buying two lorries loaded at 908 pounds per ton, equivalent to 56 tons, when he needed twice as much.

Last year, he paid 250 250 per ton from the same trader. “There is hyperinflation in the market, and we don’t know what the price will be. Should we buy now to lock in for next season? There are fears that people are shopping now. There is a lot of risk and a lot of cash being spent before you can get that money back. ”

Tim Bradshaw, vice-president of the National Farmers Union, said big business, such as Frontier Agriculture and ADM Agriculture, was also limiting supplies, while two other farmers said small businesses were doing the same.

The United Kingdom imports 60 percent of its fertilizer. Internally, CF Fertilizers is conducting a scale-down operation in Billingham, Tyside, after receiving an official bailout last year when it said the plant had become unsustainable due to rising gas prices. The company has closed its second site in Cheshire Ince.

Norway’s Yara, one of the world’s largest fertilizer manufacturers, said last week that rising natural gas prices would reduce ammonia and urea production by 45 percent in Italy and France.

Outside of vegetable growers, the situation is complicated by the fact that Ukraine accounts for about 25 percent of the “bread basket of Europe” wheat supply, with about three-quarters of the country’s land dependent on agriculture. John Rich, head of MHP, one of Ukraine’s leading food producers, warned last week that if the conflict continues and affects the ability to sow crops in the next two weeks, the consequences for the world will be easier.

“Wheat prices will continue to rise, corn and other commodity prices will rise significantly and your inflation will rise.” Other countries will generally increase grain production to try to fill the deficit, but pressure on the supply of fertilizer limits its scope.

“If farmers choose or are forced to reduce fertilizer application, yields may be lower,” said Anthony Spate, an analyst at the UK’s Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board.

Agriculture ministers from the G7 group of top economies met last week to discuss the impact of the war on food security, amid fears that it could lead to a crisis for countries such as Egypt, Turkey and Bangladesh that depend on Ukraine and Russia for their wheat, corn and sunflower. Oil.

The Arab Spring began in 2010 due to bread shortages, and Russia and Ukraine supplied more than 70 percent of Egypt’s wheat imports. “We have a moral obligation in the UK to maximize production, we need to see policies that support this because the biggest importers are the poorest countries and if Britain starts importing more then there will be less left for other developing countries,” Bradshaw said. .

Joe Shepherdson of the Cucumber Growers’ Association said British cultivable farmers had experienced “huge price increases across the board”, delaying or canceling their growing season. Normally the UK produces 80 million cucumbers a year but this year only 30 million cucumbers will be produced.

“Similar decisions are being made by farmers in the Netherlands and Spain, countries where the UK produces salad ingredients, which will lead to a significant reduction in European production and an inevitable rise in prices for consumers.

Lee Stiles, head of the Leah Valley Growers Association in Essex, which produces three-quarters of the UK’s pepper, cucumber and aubergine crops, said only half of its farmers have planted so far this month, which means production will halve.

Steels said gas was 20 percent of the cost of producing 50p cucumbers, but he expected prices to double as gas prices rose to 8 8 last week.

“The price of this gas will inevitably lead to a shortage of shelves, unless they can import more products from South America,” he said. But doing so was never economic or environmental. It takes four days to get here from Spain and transportation costs have increased because fuel has increased so the option seems impossible. Buyers are likely to call everyone who looks appropriate, if there are only a few.


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