One of the country’s biggest outlets for fertiliser will no longer accept products from Russia, the Farming Independent can reveal.
Tirlán, formerly known as Glanbia Co-op and Glanbia Ireland, operates 52 agri retail branches and is a major seller of fertiliser here. The co-op operates 11 processing plants and has over 2,100 employees.
There has been controversy in recent days over the importation of much-needed fertiliser from Russia to Ireland.
However, a spokesperson for the company has told the Farming Independent it will no longer deal with Russian suppliers.
“In solidarity with the people of Ukraine and the views of our employees, the Board of Tirlán has decided that our co-op will not be sourcing fertiliser product from Russia.
“Our co-op’s fertiliser sourcing policies are and will continue to be focused on securing non-Russian sources of fertiliser for our farmers.”
Tirlán said it has not used Russian fertiliser in recent months and won’t be into the future.
Earlier this week, the Department of Agriculture confirmed that it is aware a shipment of fertiliser from Russia was due in Ireland.
The Wexford company behind the importation, Nitrofert, has defended the move, insisting that it is no different than buying gas from the sanctioned country and is essential to ensure continued food production in Ireland.
Nitrofert owner and managing director Eamonn Galavan confirmed the company is buying the shipments of fertiliser produced in Russia.
One ship was unloaded at Waterford Port yesterday and another was waiting to be unloaded.
Between them, the two vessels are carrying 40,000 tonnes of fertiliser, which is in short supply due to Russia’s war on Ukraine and the resulting surge in energy prices.
“It’s coming into Europe, so why can’t it come into Ireland?” Mr Galavan told the Irish Independent.
He said the company moved to buy the fertiliser as it was concerned that the EU quota could be filled and no more would be available at a time of acute shortages.
“Either the quota will run out or Putin will decide to starve us out by cutting off the fertiliser as well as freezing us out by cutting off the gas,” Mr Galavan insisted.
Nitrofert, which had sales of €33m in 2021 and made a €1.6m profit, imports fertiliser from all over the world for distribution in Ireland, where its major customers include the likes of Kerry Co-op, Glanbia Co-op [now Tirlán] and Lakeland Dairies.
Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue has said EU sanctions against Russia do not apply to fertiliser.
A spokesperson for the European Commission confirmed that EU sanctions do not target Russian agricultural and food products, including wheat and fertilisers.
Nitrogen and phosphorus fertilisers from Russia account for 85pc of the EU market. For potash and potassium-containing fertilisers, which represent around 20pc of EU imports of fertilisers from Russia, there is a restriction for imports under the EU sanctions, namely imports are limited to a quantitative maximum corresponding to the same level of imports from Russia in the period 2017-2021.