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Consumer watchdog urged to look at fertiliser ‘price-gouging’

May 19th, 2023 5:10 PM

Consumer watchdog urged to look at fertiliser ‘price-gouging’ Image
The ICMSA’s Pat McCormack, inset, claims that Irish fertiliser prices had been ‘quietly and deliberately decoupled’ from the international energy prices. (Main photo: Shutterstock)

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AN investigation into what has been described as ‘price gouging’ on fertiliser prices has been demanded by the ICMSA. 

Its president Pat McCormack has made the call of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) into the prices charged to farmers for fertiliser this year and last. 

Mr McCormack said that the differences between the prices paid by Irish farmers by comparison to even northern Irish farmers were ‘jaw-dropping’ and beyond any rational explanation other than the opportunity to over-charge and price-gouge. 

He said it was as clear-cut a case as could be recalled and it was absolutely incumbent upon the state agencies specifically charged and funded to deal with this kind of malpractice to investigate what went on and to produce a full report with consequences to follow.

 ‘As far as ICMSA is concerned this is a test case, it’s an opportunity for all those politicians who constantly reassure us of their commitment to fairness and understanding of the squeeze that farmers find themselves in, to front up and order the CCPC to do its job.’

He said there are ‘jaw-dropping instances of profiteering and price-gouging to be found all over particularly the southern part of the country.’

‘Let’s just see if any of those very vociferous commentators demanding more and more regulation and supervision of farmers can find it in themselves to support our call for an immediate and thorough investigation into this open and in plain sight wave of price-gouging,’ said Mr McCormack.

 He also claimed it was obvious that Irish fertiliser prices had been ‘quietly and deliberately decoupled’ from the international energy prices that we were assured was its basis.

‘We can actually track the moment when, specifically, gas prices begin to fall down while our fertiliser prices remain inflated. And even allowing for the co-ops’ determination to sell their stocks at the inflated prices that they had paid for them, we can still see the supplies of fertiliser coming in at the lower prices but being sold to farmers at the ‘old’ higher prices that spiked immediately post-invasion. If here are rational and logical explanations for this, then let’s hear them. The people that must get to the bottom of this are CCPC – and that’s exactly what we expect them to do, forthwith,’ said Mr McCormack.

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