'Pot still boiling' on fertiliser duties - Creed
Ireland is still seeking feedback from the European Commission on whether it will cancel long-standing anti-dumping duties on certain fertiliser imports.
"This is an issue where the pot is continuing to boil," Agriculture Minister Michael Creed told the Farming Independent. "I don't want to say a resolution is immediately ahead."
Fertiliser is the second-largest expenditure for Irish farms, largely since the EU's introduction of anti-dumping duties on imports of (mainly Russian) fertilisers in 1994. The Irish Farmers' Association says the move has sent fertiliser prices rising at twice the rate of other farm costs.
Mr Creed has spoken repeatedly to EU agriculture and trade chiefs about the issue, which he says also came during a recent trade mission to Saudi Arabia, the Gulf region's top exporter of fertilisers.
The European Commission did not respond to requests for comment in time for publication.
Meanwhile, the Government is still working to secure opt-outs for intensive farmers from EU rules limiting the nitrogen content of livestock manure.
"We're acutely conscious of the mountain we have to climb in that area, but we do believe the steps that our industry has taken, in terms of its growth and intensification, have been done in a clever way in terms of managing our environment," Mr Creed said.
The EU said in a recent report that the intensification of Irish dairy farming was a "challenge" for limiting nitrate pollution.