The embassy of Ukraine to Ireland is to request a meeting with Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue over the importation of fertiliser from Russia, the Farming Independent can exclusively reveal.
The Department of Agriculture confirmed yesterday that it is aware of a shipment of fertiliser from Russia that is due in Ireland in the coming days.
Minister McConalogue was contacted for comment but declined to weigh in on the matter.
A spokesperson for the European Commission has 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.
This was introduced to avoid circumvention from Belarus as these products are subject to an import ban from Belarus.
In addition, a spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture said: “Under Restrictive Measures that are in place following the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, the importation of fertilisers falling under CN codes 310520, 310560 and 310590 originating from Russia is permitted, subject to a quota not being exceeded.”
Russia has said it is ready to boost exports of food and fertilisers to help avert a global food crisis, but is being blocked from doing so by the United States.
Moscow said Washington was “blackmailing” and “persecuting” those that try to trade with Russia and was therefore compromising global food security.
The US has not directly targeted Russian agricultural exports, but sanctions on Russia’s shipping, insurance, logistics and payments infrastructure are frustrating Russia’s ability to export, Russia claims.
It is rumoured that the inbound vessel to Ireland contains a very large quantity of fertiliser which will be for sale at an attractive price, much lower than what farmers have been paying for similar supplies in recent months.
Irish farmers will be faced with the moral dilemma of availing of cheaper chemical nitrogen from Russia, while at the same time condemning the war in Ukraine.
ICMSA president Pat McCormack told the Farming Independent that the origin of fertiliser bought “will probably be one of the last thoughts on farmers’ minds.
“A lot will have fertiliser pre-booked and paid for already. We have a Government, Department and wholesalers, and if they deem it okay to use then farmers simply will use it. Farmers don’t make that inquiry about where it has come from.
“There would be farmers who wouldn’t spread it because of morals, but will end up spreading it because they won’t know the origin of their fertiliser.”
Liffey Mills Managing Director Pat Ryan said some farmers will have a moral objection to buying Russian origin supplies.
“We had farmers ringing last spring asking if we had Russian fertiliser and that they wouldn’t buy it if it did come from Russia,” he said.