Animal Feed and Fertilisers: Ukraine

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered at on 15 April 2024.

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Photo of Neil Hudson Neil Hudson Conservative, Penrith and The Border

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if his Department will make an assessment of the potential impact of the war in Ukraine on the (a) supply and (b) price of (i) animal feed and (ii) fertiliser.

Photo of Mark Spencer Mark Spencer The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

i. The UK has a highly resilient food and animal feed supply chain which has coped well in responding to challenges in the past few years.

Cereals and oilseeds make up a significant proportion of animal feed, most of which are internationally traded commodities. Subsequently, their supply chains are dynamic and responsive to global market developments in price and availability. These developments may be influenced by the war in Ukraine or additional factors unrelated to the conflict, such as weather conditions and currency fluctuations.Our high degree of food security is built on strong domestic production and imports from diverse sources. We recognise the essential role that domestic production plays in providing food security and resilience, which is why the government is committed to broadly maintaining the current level of food we produce domestically.

We continue to keep the market situation under review through the UK Agriculture Market Monitoring Group, which monitors UK agricultural markets including price, supply, inputs, trade and recent developments.

ii. In 2022, nitrogen fertiliser prices increased to two to three times their recent nominal historic levels (imported ammonium nitrate prices were £870/t), due to increased global gas prices and conflicts around the world (including but not limited to the conflict in the Ukraine) as well as strong demand driven by high crop prices.

The AHDB publishes a GB fertiliser price time-series for the most commonly used fertiliser products to increase transparency of market prices and show trends to growers. This shows a plateauing of fertiliser prices in GB from June 2023 until now. While this is a GB price series the same situation applies to the UK as a whole. This plateau in prices is partly due to global price factors, but also regional demand has been affected by poor weather and shifts in crop choices by farmers.

Defra is continuing to monitor fertiliser prices and supply chains through regular engagement with key manufacturers and wider stakeholders. We are also working with other government departments to coordinate intelligence, and understand supply and pricing issues.

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