One of the U.K.’s biggest fertilizer plants has had to permanently close due to skyrocketing energy bills - and concerns are growing over the nation’s food supply.
Image Credit: Bruno
According to the Food Standards Agency, the increasing price of food is a growing concern for the overwhelming majority of Britons; in the past year more and more people are choosing to skip meals and use food banks.
The head of fertilizers at the Agricultural Industries Confederation Jo Gilbertson, fears that the factory’s shutdown could push food prices even higher.
She said that: “This will affect all sorts of things. If we don’t have access to nitrogen fertilizers it affects everything from the cost of milk and meat products on the shelves to the price of bread because milling wheat needs the high protein level you get from nitrogen,” adding that “Then you have to import grain and there’s a shortage of that because of the crisis in Ukraine.”
The Ince plant near Chester produced supplies of nitrogen fertilizer and CO2; the gas is needed to stun animals before their eventual slaughter, and packaging meat.
Tom Bradshaw, who is the Deputy President of the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) stated that the plant’s closure “is a further blow for farmers who are already suffering from incredibly high inflation for fertilizer costs.”
He then continued by saying that: “This comes at a time when costs and supply face unprecedented risk.”
The organization is now concerned that the surge in price will prevent farmers from continuing to grow wheat: an essential ingredient for making bread. Before the coronavirus pandemic the price per ton was £200 and is now £625.
In May, the U.K.’s food inflation rose to 4.3%, from 3.5% in April: which is the highest increase since April 2012.