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PhosAgro Welcomes the European Commission´s Plans for More Sustainable Agriculture and a Smart Approach to Mineral Fertilizers

22 May 2020
- Transitioning towards more sustainable fertilizer use to protect the environment should be mandatory in every country. 
- PhosAgro calls on the Commission to take a smart approach to its plans to optimise fertilizer use by 20% by 2030 by focusing on limiting toxic impurities and encouraging the use of safer fertilizers.
- Farmers must not bear the burden of a reduction in fertilizer volumes: the mineral fertilizer industry must improve the environmental standards of its products. 

The European Commission has released the Farm to Fork strategy, which aims to support sustainable food systems and address the links between sustainable food production, human health and environmental protection.

PhosAgro welcomes the strategy’s goals in relation to sustainable fertilizer use as part of the Green Deal, which should address growing concerns in society about agriculture’s impact on the environment. 

Commenting on the Farm to Fork strategy, PhosAgro CEO Andrey Guryev said: “Protecting the environment by encouraging more sustainable fertilizer use should be mandatory in every country.” 

As part of the Farm to Fork strategy, the European Commission aims to reduce nutrient losses by at least 50%, while at the same time ensuring that there is no deterioration in soil fertility as a result of a reduction in fertilizer use by at least 20% by 2030. 

“Based on current UN population growth forecasts, we must continue to ensure high-quality and abundant crop yields to address growing demand for food. Two of the key elements to doing this are maintaining soil fertility and preventing soil degradation. Complex fertilizers that do not contain harmful concentrations of cadmium and other heavy metals or impurities can contribute to achieving this. There are several global producers, including PhosAgro, whose fertilizers are distinguished by their environmental friendliness. Moreover, pollutants can be removed from other fertilizers using available technologies and investments in research and development," Mr Guryev commented. 

PhosAgro fears that as a result of the strategy, which currently calls for reducing the use of fertilizers without specifying potential risks to the environment, the approach towards fertilizer use will not take into account the actual impact on the environment of different types of fertilizer. This would mean that all fertilizers fall under the same reduction targets. The European agricultural sector has access to a wide variety of fertilizer suppliers whose products already meet high environmental standards. 

PhosAgro therefore proposes that the European Commission rely on science-based criteria to clearly define which measures will be used to limit the usage of fertilizers in order to minimise potential damage to the environment. In particular, measures should be taken to reduce usage of fertilizers with high concentrations of toxic impurities while still enabling farmers to maintain soil fertility and crop yields by using fertilizers that contain practically no cadmium or other toxic impurities. 

“There is a risk that farmers will suffer the most as they will lose easy access to fertilizers as a tool for increasing crop yields. The burden should never fall on farmers. On the contrary, this is a task for the mineral fertilizers industry, which is more than capable of reducing the negative impact on the environment by eliminating the production of products that do not meet stringent environmental standards,” stressed Mr Guryev. 

PhosAgro confirms its commitment to responsible agriculture, the use of eco-friendly crop nutrients and the promotion of sustainable agriculture. The Company is already doing this by supplying its customers in more than 100 countries with mineral fertilizers that do not contain concentrations of toxic impurities that are harmful to the soil and to human health. PhosAgro fertilizers are highly effective, ensure the environmental friendliness of agricultural products and do not contribute to soil contamination by heavy metals. In this regard, PhosAgro contributes to the reduction of levels of pollutants in soil across the world.