On October 19, the Minister of Agriculture, Luis Planas, stated in a forum in Huesca that 50% of the fertilizer production facilities are already closed or have reduced their usual productions due to the increase in the cost of hydrocarbons, which is driving the price of this fundamental input in agriculture.
In fact, a survey by the Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development of the European Commission revealed that the cost of fertilizers has increased by 110% over 2019 due to the increase in the cost of the synthetic production chain. The prices of the most used fertilizers have increased because of the rise in the price of natural gas, stated Juan Pardo, president of the Spanish Fertilizer Trade Association (ACEFER). According to Fertilisants Europe, the European association of fertilizer manufacturers, almost 70% of European ammonia production has stopped since August due to sky-high gas prices.
As a result, there could be a lack of important products for the European agri-food sector, which would lead the country to become increasingly more dependent on third countries, stated the president of ANFFE (National Association of Fertilizer Manufacturers).
In 2020, 13.9% of the fertilizers imported by Spain came from Morocco, 10.7% came from Belgium, 8% from Portugal, and 3.7% from Russia. Faced with scarcity and high-costing fertilizers, producers wonder if they should grow other crops that do not need fertilizers, such as sunflowers and legumes. It's a question that many farmers in Spain -who are currently hesitant to plant their crops because they still don't know how much fertilizer prices could increase- are pondering, stated an expert from the Union of Small Farmers (UPA).