Forget Ukraine’s wheat exports. This is the actual food problem:
Russia’s grip on the fertiliser market is being felt by British farmers who face sharply rising prices that are expected to have a big effect on the supply chain and push up the cost of groceries.
Farmers are paying close to £1,000 a tonne for ammonium nitrate fertiliser, compared with £647 in January and £245 in January last year, according to the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board. The cost of urea, phosphate and potash fertiliser has more than doubled.
James Cox, an arable farmer in Gloucestershire, said that fertiliser used to be 55 per cent of the cost of his business, but will now be near to 80 per cent. “If I used to pay around £36,000 for my fertiliser and am now facing a £120,000 bill, where am I going to get that money from? None of us knows what the price will be for next year and we are all having to take decisions about laying it now.”
Potash and potassium are minor influences. The main cost of ammonium nitrate is natural gas.
We need to go fracking so we can eat.