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Europe 'Sleep Walking' Into Dependence on Russian Fertilizer, Top Producer Warns

Europe’s dependence on Russian fertilizers is growing, just like it did with gas before, said Svein Tore Holsether, the chief executive of fertilizer producer Yara International, one of the world’s largest producers of nitrogen-based mineral fertilizers, in an interview with the Financial Times.

Fertiliser is the new gas,” Holsether said. “It is a paradox that the aim is to reduce Europe’s dependency on Russia, and then now we are sleepwalking into handing over critical food and fertilizing power to Russia.

According to Eurostat, Europe imported twice as much urea fertilizer from Russia in the year to June 2023 compared with a year earlier.

Russian fertilizer producers take advantage of low energy costs and have fewer environmental constraints when producing crop nutrients.

Russia is one of the world’s biggest exporters of nitrogen, potash, and phosphate fertilizers, and it’s possible to expect it to use this for political gains.

When you produce a product that is so important for food production, that’s a powerful tool. And again, I think it would be naive to think that at some stage that will not be used for political purposes,” said Holsether.

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