With fertiliser prices still high the Ulster Farmers’ Union has backed a campaign to persuade the European Commission that in a harshly competitive global market there is no need for it to maintain tariffs against imports.
These were introduced to protect European fertiliser producers. But the European farm lobby organisation COPA, of which the UFU has long been an active member, says these duties are now damaging farm businesses and protecting a fertiliser industry large enough to withstand competition from imports. This campaign in COPA has been driven by the Irish Farmers Association, and since it began the UFU has backed the IFA’s stance.
Suspending tariffs on imported fertiliser would have an immediate impact on prices. This reduction could be as much as five per cent, and that would translate into additional income of around £800 million for European farm businesses. The UFU says it is pleased to support COPA in intensifying its campaign to secure a change of stance in Brussels, on grounds that farmers need an income boost more than already successful and prosperous European fertiliser businesses.