Ukraine crisis: Europe to work on market supports for affected farmers

Growing fears invasion will place upward pressure on food prices due to shortages of inputs

The European Commission is to work on market supports for farmers to offset the disruptive effect of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on the price of animal feeds and fertiliser.

Fears are growing that the crisis will place upward pressure on food prices due to shortages of grains, feedstock and fertiliser usually supplied to the Irish market by Russia and Ukraine.

Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue attended a meeting of EU agriculture ministers virtually on Wednesday, where agriculture commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski said Brussels was readying "market interventions" if needed.

“The key outcome is the commission stand ready and are working on market interventions,” Mr McConalogue told The Irish Times on Wednesday evening.

“Between Russia and Ukraine, both are significant grain exporters, and internationally are important,” he said, adding there is “going to be a disruption in terms of their contribution to international grain markets”.

He said the commission “has been very clear, it does stand willing to intervene as necessary. I very much welcome that and see that as important”.

The Minister said the “immediate challenge” would be to ensure that there is security of supply of grain and fertiliser, with shortages potentially forcing up farm gate prices and ultimately increasing the cost of food for consumers.

Ireland gets around 25 per cent of its fertiliser from Russia, and 30 per cent of grains from Ukraine and Russia combined.

“There’s a commitment, a clear commitment from the commission of its readiness to intervene to reflect any disturbance that may arise,” Mr McConalogue said.

Jack Horgan-Jones

Jack Horgan-Jones

Jack Horgan-Jones is a political reporter with The Irish Times