Soaring fertilizer costs put pressure on UK food prices

British farmers are dealing with the worst of historically high fuel and fertilizer prices, leading to rising food prices and fear of potential shortages.

Mike Nieberson, a potato farmer and an independent farmer from Lincolnshire, emailed the Epoch Times that he was the target of fertilizer this season.

But in the future, like many farmers, he will have to fight the soaring prices of materials that supply the nutrients essential for plant growth in agriculture.

The agricultural sector was already working on rising gas prices, but the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine made the situation much worse. Moreover, Russia, the world’s largest fertilizer exporter, recently announced that it would stop exporting in a move to remove large chunks from the world’s supply.

Price increase

The National Farmers’ Union (NFU), the UK’s largest agricultural union, emailed the Epoch Times that the market is becoming more vigilant due to the sharp rise in energy prices, and fertilizer prices.

“By the way, prices have risen from £ 265 per ton. [($348)] Up to £ 650 per ton [($853)]”The spokesman said, but their prices are set to rise every day.

“This soaring fertilizer price is putting pressure on farmers who are already being hit by rising labor, fuel and feed costs. The higher the fertilizer price, the greater the risk to farmers. “We will have more investment in the face of other potential threats to the growing season, such as reduced demand for unguaranteed crop prices,” says Neaverson.

“Still, everything I’m using now needs to be replaced next season at the current incredible price, so for the first time in my career, the proportion of nitrogen fertilizer is economically optimal. The percentages are no longer similar to optimal yields, so we’re reducing them to levels that we know will significantly reduce yields, “he said.

“Others who specialize in grain marketing are better suited to answer this than I am, but in my opinion, if a large area of ​​Ukraine or Russia is not planted this spring, we will be one. It’s a global weather event (for example, drought in South America, late frost in Canada, etc.) due to severe fluctuations that could limit supply, “Neaverson added.

“This obviously hurt the poorest people in the world first, but even Western countries rely on the world’s commodities for animal feed, making the already struggling pig and poultry sector infeasible. It is unlikely that it will lead to widespread human famine, but not impossible, although in my opinion Western consumers expect it in terms of range, quality, and especially price. It can lead to major readjustments, “he added.

Completely forgotten

Authorities have taken steps in some cases. CF fertilizer, one of the UK’s leading fertilizer manufacturers, ceased production at its Inse and Teesside plants in September due to the high price of natural gas. The closure has caused fear of the UK’s supply of carbon dioxide, which is produced as a by-product of the fertilization process.However, it was reported that the site was given last-minute grace by the government to keep supply moving. Northern Echo.

In addition, last month, Agriculture and Environment Minister George Eustis proposed a more environmentally friendly alternative to fertilizers such as legumes. For farmers like Nieberson, he believes that DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Environmental Protection and Government Department for Food Production) has not been successful enough for UK food production for a long time.

“Basically, my outlook on life is a free market and does not necessarily require government intervention in fertilizer pricing, for example. But for the past decade, DEFRA has sought the need for homegrown food production. Completely forgotten, instead, offshore lower production standards abroad under the false assumption that trade is always easy and food is always cheap. We need to discuss it. ” Said Neaverson.

Catastrophic damage

Dr. John Constable, director of energy for Net Zero Watch, criticized the government’s commitment to a Net Zero emission strategy during such an energy crisis.

He argued that the commitment to renewable energy has made Europe and the United Kingdom decisively dependent on the gas of the electricity system, increasing the vulnerability of the underlying traditional system that continues everything. ..

“Renewable and low energy resources have caused a fuel diversity crisis, and wind and solar power create an illusion of fuel diversity, so gas is an excellent guarantee for the entire system. It’s fuel. “He said.

“This is related to the fertilizer problem, as much is derived from the natural gas methane, and as a result there is competition to be introduced,” Constable said.

He said the UK needs natural gas for its electricity system, which is so expensive that some uses have reached its limits and fertilizer is one of them.

“At some point, Western countries need to fix this error. The problem of avoiding real catastrophic damage to the economy as a whole will be faster,” he said.

Owen Evans


Owen Evans is a UK-based journalist who covers stories from a wide range of countries with a particular interest in civil liberties and free speech.