Farm Ireland

Wednesday 21 March 2018

Fertiliser rises spark fears of price cartel in industry

Caitriona Murphy

Caitriona Murphy

Massive increases in the price of fertiliser on the world and European markets have prompted concern that there may be a price cartel in operation in the industry.

The agriculture committee of the European Parliament has called on the Directorate General of Competition (DG Competition) to investigate the fertiliser market amid concerns about rising prices.

Mairead McGuinness MEP confirmed that the agriculture committee, on which she and fellow MEP Liam Aylward serve, is due to vote on a farm inputs report next week.

The report recommends that DG Competition opens a 'sectoral investigation' into the fertiliser industry.

ICMSA president Jackie Cahill said his organisation and others had long believed that a cartel exists in relation to the supply and cost of fertiliser.

Irish fertiliser prices rose by 24pc between August last year and August this year, according to recent figures from the CSO.

"This needs to be addressed at European level as it is not possible to address it given the relatively small market in Ireland," he said.

Meanwhile, ICMSA members said co-ops should be prohibited from linking milk price to the level of input trading with co-ops.

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