Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is dramatically increasing farmers production costs, as the price of fertiliser skyrockets.
Laurent Gomand, the head of a family farm in Belgium, has been following the consequences of the war and says in the short term it is not the breeding of his 250 cows and 600 goats that is threatened, but the production of cereal, corn, beet and potatoes.
In just a few weeks, the price of fertiliser has exploded according to Gomand: «Fertilisers that we paid between €150 and €200 (per ton) a year ago, are now at €800 It is a cost that is absolutely exorbitant. And on top of that there is a shortage! So we have to add, I mean, to the cost which is much higher, there is a scarcity of the material, of the goods».
Russia is a key player in the fertiliser market. Last year, the country was the leading exporter of nitrogen fertilisers and the second largest supplier of potassium and phosphorus fertilisers. Farmers like Gmand say it is a vicious circle for their farms and for consumers.
«First of all, there is a direct financial impact on our finances because our production costs are much higher,» Gomand told Euronews. «Now, if we don’t put the right amount of fertiliser on the crops, there is a drop in production. So it’s a spiral: less fertiliser, less production and somewhere at the end shortage!»
These difficulties in accessing fertilisers threaten the economic balance of farms, as they cannot plan for the coming months.
Brussels is looking for ways to cushion the impact of the conflict on the sector, with the bloc’s agriculture minister meeting in Brussels on Monday and the European Commission also expected to present its proposals to help producers on Wednesday.