Importing fertiliser makes sense says Donegal farmer

A farmers’ alliance set up by a Donegal man says it would make “common sense” to import fertiliser from mainland Europe where it is a fraction of Ireland’s price.

Redcastle man Liam McLaughlin established the Farmers’ Alliance Group as a result of fertiliser costs sky rocketing. Farmers in Donegal now have to pay around €870 per tonne of fertiliser.

Liam McLaughlin said they have discovered that in parts of Europe it is available for under €500 per tonne.


“The common sense thing to do is bring it to Ireland and sell it at cost price,” he said.

“Our intention is to work with existing small farm supply stores. In fact we have had one contact us from Kerry and they were very interested in what we were doing and interested in dispersing what we could import.

“The further we go in Europe for it the cheaper it gets.

“Our first aim will be to try a pilot run with a shipment of fertiliser into Inishowen and disperse it around Inishowen as a trial run.”

The group’s first meeting took place recently in Athlone where farmers gathered to talk about the issues they face at the minute.

Liam said although the meeting didn’t get a massive turnout, those in attendance spoke their minds.

“A lot of people have come back to us since saying it was the best meeting they ever attended because everyone was heard. We didn’t turn anyone away and some of the issues that are currently going on in the country were brought to light as well.


“There are a lot of farmers struggling. There were actually a couple of farmers there practically in tears trying to explain their case and that is what egged us on,” he said.

One of the many issues farmers are facing at the minute is the price of lambs.

Liam said the price of lambs is not where it should be compared to other countries, for example France.

“We are getting €6.30 per kilo at the moment and when you look at France they are getting €8.30. France isn’t that far away so there is something wrong when there is €2 of a difference,” he said.

Despite all these issues, Liam said nobody is fighting the corner for the farmer.

“Meal costs, fertiliser costs and input costs are all high. Everybody is marching and preaching about needing more money for lambs and needing more money for cattle but nobody is actually looking at reducing the costs, whereas we are.

“We are the first to ever look at this. We are basically a new approach to a farm representation group.”

With the planning for the next meeting in the works, Liam has his sights set on April.

“At the moment we are just in the process of getting the legal paper work out of the way,” he said.

Cross border

With interest now spreading cross border Liam said they have received great support so far.

“Everything will fall into place because we have good support and we seem to have a lot of backing in the idea. It is just a matter of planning and trying to get it all into place, but that just takes time.”

For more information about the Farmers’ Alliance join Liam’s Facebook group ‘Irelands Farm Discussion Group’.

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