Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has today backed concerns from the National Farmers Union Scotland about fair prices for fertiliser, with plans to push for a debate on the matter when Parliament returns from recess. The NFUS has written to the Competition and Markets Authority following findings that the three biggest fertiliser suppliers in the UK, CF Industries, Yara and Origin Enterprises, made £5.45bn in combined net profit in 2022, up from £909m in 2021.
During 2022, UK-produced fertiliser prices spiked to a peak of £841 per tonne on average last July, relative to an average £326 per tonne of ammonium nitrate in July 2021. The NFUS has also highlighted the impact increased costs will have had on food price inflation in the UK.
Mr Carmichael said:
“Farmers and crofters are facing enough cost-of-living pressures as it is even without soaring fertiliser prices and so I am glad to back the NFUS’s request for an investigation. When food producers face higher input costs that means higher prices for families – or more farmers going to the wall. Neither of those is acceptable.
“It is not so long ago that fertiliser producers were seeking government support to keep their operations running due to supply challenges. We want a successful UK fertiliser industry but the price for that should not be the success of UK farming.
“The government needs to take these concerns seriously and act to bring the market back into balance. I shall be pushing for a debate on fertiliser issues and wider challenges facing food producers when Parliament returns in September.”