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Lifting the lid on high fertiliser prices

20 August 2009

AUSTRALIAN farmers will take great heart from a recommendation for independent collection and distribution of international price information on fertiliser products – both here and overseas – the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) said today.

“Last November, we presented evidence to the Senate Select Committee on Agricultural and Related Industries that while domestic fertiliser prices were rising the world price was, in fact, plummeting,” NFF CEO Ben Fargher explained.

“Our farmers were concerned something was seriously amiss in the local market and disturbed by the growing disconnect between global and domestic prices of fertiliser. That impression was backed-up by reports that Urea prices had been as high as $1303 per tonne in Australia, despite the global downturn showing the price had slumped from USD$850 to less than USD$300.

“With fertiliser prices representing up to 11% of farm input costs, it’s a big deal for farm productivity. We are overjoyed that the Committee has acted on the NFF’s recommendation and will call upon ABARE to keep tabs on fertiliser market movements.

“This recommendation for new transparency in price fluctuations should give farmers much greater confidence that they are not being ripped off and enable them to make informed choices about their purchases.

“As the global population heads toward nine billion people by 2050, the efficient use of farm inputs that boost productivity, like fertiliser, are increasingly critical in overcoming the world’s growing hunger. We have to produce more food with less resources. That need is going to become more acute in the years ahead.

“Access to globally competitive prices is vital to Australian farmers in retaining our position as reliable suppliers of top quality food and fibre. Armed with regular independent assessments of price changes, farmers will be in a much better position to ensure they are not getting a raw deal.”

[ENDS]

Media Enquiries: Brett Heffernan on (02) 6273 3855 or 0408 448 250.

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