European Fertilizer Crisis: Import Dependency Risk

European Fertilizer Crisis: Import Dependency Risk

Elena Petrovna Kuznetsova
1 min read

European Fertilizer Crisis: Import Dependency Risk

Two years ago, closures of European fertilizer plants caused a shortage of essential crop nutrients, increasing costs for local farmers. Today, the industry faces a daunting challenge as it heavily relies on imports, particularly from Russia. Eurostat data shows that nearly one-third of the EU's urea imports come from Russia, reaching close to record levels last year. This import reliance raises concerns about fertilizer supply stability and cost in Europe, amplifying the potential risks associated with such a significant dependency.

Key Takeaways

  • European fertilizer plant closures two years ago affected local farmers' crop nutrient supplies and costs.
  • Rising concerns over substantial fertilizer imports, especially from Russia, which supplies approximately one-third of the EU's urea imports.
  • Last year's urea imports from Russia approached a record high, based on Eurostat data.


The closure of European fertilizer plants has resulted in a heavy reliance on Russian urea imports, intensifying supply chain vulnerabilities. This dependency exposes the EU to geopolitical risks and potential price fluctuations, impacting farmers’ costs and food security. Short-term disruptions may lead to price hikes, while in the long term, it could drive investment in domestic production and alternative supply sources. This situation underscores the necessity for diversified supply chains and sustainable local production to mitigate future risks.

Did You Know?

  • Urea: A nitrogen-rich chemical compound widely used as a fertilizer to enhance plant growth. It is a solid, water-soluble substance and one of the most commonly used nitrogenous fertilizers due to its high nitrogen content (approximately 46%).
  • Eurostat: The statistical office of the European Union based in Luxembourg. It is responsible for collecting, compiling, and disseminating statistical information that is comparable across EU member states, providing data on a multitude of topics, including economic, social, and environmental issues.
  • Import Dependency: It refers to a situation in which a country heavily relies on imports to fulfill its domestic needs, in this case, fertilizers. This dependency can lead to economic vulnerability in the event of supply disruptions or changes in exporting countries’ policies, potentially affecting prices and availability.

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