Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue has said he will be participating in a special meeting of EU agriculture ministers tomorrow (Wednesday) in relation to the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on agriculture and food prices.
Minister McConalogue was responding to Independent Clare TD Michael McNamara who has expressed concern at the impact of rising fertiliser costs on food production and prices in Ireland.
Deputy McNamara claims urgent government intervention is required and has suggested the potential bulk purchase of fertilisers, the subvention of fertilisers, or the introduction of price caps.
Speaking during Questions on Promised Legislation in Dáil Éireann today, Deputy McNamara said, “Irish farmers face a dilemma. Do they borrow money to pay the cost of fertiliser which has more than doubled and hope to pass that on to consumers at the end of the year? Or do they produce less food which will also result in a rise in consumer food prices at the end of the year?”
“I have no doubt that Ireland will produce more than enough food to feed itself, but I am less confident about Europe, particularly given the lack of supply that will be there from Ukraine which is the breadbasket of Europe,” he added. “To ward off a horrible scenario where Irish consumers cannot afford the cost of food in Ireland like other European consumers, will the Government intervene by bulk buying fertilisers, subventing it or putting price caps in place? Because we need to intervene now.”
In response, Minister McConalogue commented, “You raise a very fair issue and a fair concern, and something that my department are monitoring very closely. Also, we are having a special meeting of EU agriculture ministers this Wednesday and it’s something we will be discussing as part of that, as well in the context of the challenges that the unacceptable invasion of Ukraine is resulting in and what that means in terms of both gas, energy, fertiliser and potentially, grain prices.”