Farming bodies agree policy on fertiliser rules

Copa & Cogeca, the umbrella body representing the EU main farming bodies, has approved a position in Brussels on the review of the EU fertiliser regulation.

The organisation has also outlined some key concerns in relation to quality and costs.

One of the aims of the review is to harmonise rules across the EU and to increase the share of organic fertilisers used in Europe by harmonising cadmium levels across the EU and adopting an approval procedure for new types of fertilisers marked EC.

“But a key concern for us is that if mineral fertilisers are not strictly defined, the quality of the product will be reduced. We want a clear definition of mineral fertilisers which sets higher standards for nutrient content and an EU restricted list of types of inorganic fertilisers,” said Copa & Cogeca secretary-general Pekka Pesonen.

“We are also worried about the proposed cadmium level in phosphate fertilisers in the proposal. We believe that a limit on cadmium in phosphate fertilisers could be harmonised at 60mg cadmium after a transition period of at least 15 years. There is no scientific evidence to justify the levels proposed by the commission.”

He added: “We are also very worried about the proposed degradation requirements for the coating polymers of the controlled release of fertilisers as it will have a major impact on the horticulture sector. We propose an appropriate European standard for this.

“Another point of concern is the increased competition between farm manure and organic fertilisers marked EC. We propose stronger standards for organic fertilisers and tighter labelling rules.”

The fertiliser proposals were released in March and could be approved by March next year, before being introduced in 2018.

Copa & Cogeca has also welcomed a report by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) showing EU farmers and agri-cooperatives stand to gain if import duties on fertilisers and anti-dumping duties were removed. With farmers facing increasing challenges, especially high fertiliser prices, the Irish Farmers Association-commissioned report shows the huge benefits for farmers if import duties were removed.