Talks mull fertiliser resourcing
Worried the Russia-Ukraine conflict will severely impact fertiliser and animal feed prices in Thailand, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has ordered a close watch on the retail prices of these products and talks on how to rely less on materials from the two countries.
Russia and Ukraine are major producers of materials used in animal feed and fertiliser production.
The conflict between the two has been driving oil prices up and adding more costs to the production of these products, government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said on Friday.
High oil prices alone have caused fertiliser prices to rise since late last year and the situation is now being exacerbated by the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, he said.
In his latest order, Gen Prayut said he needs the Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives to work closely together in monitoring the retail prices of fertiliser and animal feed while discussing measures to mitigate any further impacts of the conflict in the event it develops into a bigger war, said the spokesman.
Among the measures being considered to make Thailand less reliant on Russia and Ukraine is turning to suppliers in other countries, which technically requires an amendment to the current import regulations, he said.
Russia is a major producer of potash, phosphate and nitrogen-containing fertilisers, which are major crop and soil nutrients. It produces more than 50 million tonnes of fertiliser a year, around 25% of the world's production.
Thailand imported 500,000 tonnes of fertiliser from Russia last year, using a port in Ukraine. Each year, Thailand imports a total of 5 million tonnes of fertiliser worth about 70.1 billion baht, mainly from the Middle East, Belarus, Russia, Canada, China and Europe.
Thailand's demand for fertiliser is about 5 million tonnes a year, but the country is capable of producing only 8% of domestic demand.
Commerce permanent secretary Boonyarit Kalayanamit also said the Russia-Ukraine war was causing the prices of materials used in producing fertiliser and animal feed to rise.
In a bid to cope with this situation, the ministry plans to next week discuss with the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives and other parties concerned about a proposal to ease the import regulations on these materials, he said.