It is crucial that European food producers have access to the fullest range of fertilizers. The aim of the European Commission's amended Fertilizer Regulation is to make this possible by harmonizing definitions and quality standards for all types of fertilizing material that can be traded across the European Union.
For the first time, materials covered by the amended Regulation include organic and organo-mineral products, liming materials, soil improvers, growing media, agronomic additives, plant bio-stimulants and fertilizing product blends. Their access to the EU market depended on mutual recognition between Member States, which often posed difficulties because of diverging national rules on their definition and make-up.
The new Regulation is intended to create a level playing field for all fertilizing materials in Europe. It also addresses their environmental impact by defining common quality, safety and labelling requirements, including limits on undesirable elements. Products will need to comply with these in order to be traded freely throughout Europe.
Fertilizer Europe's aim is to give agriculture and fertilizer professionals a platform on which to discuss these important changes. Over the coming months, we will be organizing conferences and discussions dedicated to this topic. In the pages below, you will find recaps of our most recent events regarding the New Fertilizer Regulation.
All relevant materials, including position papers and conference summaries can be found in the download material.
Fertilizers Europe have established a forum for discussion through organizing conferences on the most crucial issues about the New Fertilizer Regulation. Below, you will find the recap of our hosted conferences. The matrial from all of our New Fertilizer Regulation events can be downloaded from the list of material to the right of this page.
16 November, 2016: "Stakeholder Exchange of Views"
Discussions at previous events hosted by Fertilizers Europe highlighted the urgency of taking action with regards to the Regulation. The conference on 16 November broadened the discussion and reached towards taking collaborative action. We recognise the importance of hosting a conference that would include all stakeholders and give them the opportunity to shed light on their most urgent concerns. The conference was well attended which once again emphasized the importance and complexity of these issues.
The two sections of the conference included a stakeholder session, featuring representatives from different agriculture sectors including Copa-Cogeca, Association of Dutch Flower Auctions, European Sustainable Phosphorus Platform, European Consortium on Organic-Based Fertilizer, the European Biostimulants Industry Council and Fertilizers Europe, respectively. The panel of stakeholders presented their key concerns with regards to the New Fertilizer Regulation, giving the participants an opportunity to observe the addressed issues from a variety of angles.
The second section featured MEP Jaroslaw Walesa of EPP Poland and Franc Bogovic of EPP Slovenia who presented their ideas on the New Regulation with regards to the European Commission's circular economy package. The material distributed during the conference can be found in our download material on the right side of this webpage. Should you have any more questions or concerns, you're welcome to contact the Fertilizers Europe secretariat.
3 May, 2016: "Opportunities in the New Fertilizer Regulation: What to Look out for?" - Highlights of the conference and breakout sessions
The fertilizer industry is a key element in the European agriculture sector. By preserving the quality of this industry, we are ensuring quality of products, working towards a positive future for the European food industry.
On 16 March, the European Commission adopted a proposal titled "laying down rules on the making available on the market of CE marked fertilizing products and amending Regulations". The proposal, which covers all products including organo-mineral, organic fertilizer, soil improvers, growing media, as well as biostimulants, was put in spotlight at a conference organized by Fertilizers Europe on 3 May. The day of conference consisted of both a morning of presentations by agriculture and fertilizer specialists from the industry of fertilizers, the European Commission, and associations representing the fertilizer and farming industries.
The afternoon session consisted of four distinct topics addressing important aspects of the Regulation:
- Introducing the contribution of additives led by Wolfram Zerulla, BASF
- Cadmium in phosphate fertilizers: Economic and technical aspects led by Antoine Hoxha, Fertilizers Europe
- New requirements on labelling: Improving information to the users led by Alexander Döring, FEFAC
- Towards infinity: Debating the potential of recycling phosphate led by Rein Coster, Fertilizers Nederland
1. General Comments
Circular economy has to be fostered without compromising quality
The EU Commission aims to extend the unrestricted movement on the internal market to recovered nutrients from organic by-products and waste. Fertilizers Europe welcomes the circular economy approach taken by the Commission, especially as come of its members are already embarking on phosphate recycling. As more combinations will be possible, it has to be ensured that requirements towards contaminants and pathogens have to be leveled for all products covered by the new Regulation.
There should be no grey zone with plant protection.
Fertilizers Europe would like to underline the need to clearly define the limits between plant protection products according to Regulation 1107/2009 and the future new fertilizers Regulation. Those two Regulations must be mutually exclusive, and dual use products should not be covered by the new EU nutrient legislation.
2. Quality of mineral fertilizers must be the priority
Mineral or inorganic fertilizers feed the plants in order for farmers to achieve better yields. Fertilizers Europe strongly believes that quality of fertilizers and information to farmers have to be the main priorities of the new EU nutrient legislation.
The category of mineral fertilizers has to keep its coherence.
The proposed definition of inorganic fertilizers (Annex II part 2 PFC 1 (C)) has to be improved. Fertilizers Europe is convinced that the inorganic fertilizers must be defined according to their mineral content. Otherwise, the EU Commission proposal would have the curious consequence that material containing up to 7.5 % organic carbon coming from biomaterials (and containing almost to no nutrients) would be defined as “inorganic”.
Only forms of nutrients that are plant available should be declared.
The EU Commission proposes that the total declarable nutrient content includes by default all forms of nutrient, even those that will not be available to the plants. In addition, the EU Commission does not foresee a minimum solubility limit for phosphate fertilizers. Fertilizers Europe considers that the EU Commission propoposal should be modified in Annex I Part 2 PFC 1(C)(I)(a) (i) and (ii) and Annex III Part 2 PFC 1(C)(I) 1 so that only plant available nutrients should be declared and labeled because other forms of nitrogen and phosphorus have no proven contribution to plant nutrition. Also minimum P solubility should be defined to guarantee plant availability.
More informed choices for European farmers
The EU Commission proposes to extend labeling requirements for CE marked fertilizing products (Annex III). Fertilizers Europe welcomes this proposal as it contributes to improving the information the industry will be able to communicate to farmers. All the agronomic functions of the products have to be clearly labeled.
3. The availability of key mineral fertilizers is at stake
The EU Commission proposal to limit cadmium in phosphate (P) fertilizers is overly ambitious
The European Commission proposes a progressive reduction of the limit of cadmium (Cd) in phosphate (P) fertilizers (Annex I Part 2 PFC 1 (C)(I)). Maximum cadmium level would be limited to 60 mg/kg P2O5 from the date of application of this Regulation, followed by further pre-determined reductions. This would significantly affect competition and prices of finished mineral fertilizers, and utilmately negatively impact the international competitiveness of European farmers. It would limit the access to the EU market to a limited number of suppliers, and thus put at stake the access to phosphate rock in the EU. Fertilizers Europe recommends that a limit on cadmium content in phosphate fertilizers will be set for CE marked produts. During the preparatory process, the industry advised the Commission that a limit on cadmium in P fertilizers could be set at 60 mg cadmium/kg P2O5 to strike the right balance between the different concerns. The industry could also accept higher limits, but will not support lower limits.
Innovative specialty fertilizers endangered by the EU Commission proposal.
The Commission proposes that three years after the date of application of the new Regulation the polymer coating of controlled release fertilizers (CRF) shall comply with very specific biodegradability requirements (Annex II CMC 10). Fertilizers Europe would like to underline the clear lack of preparation of the Commission on this issue. The proposal is based on draft European requirements for mulching films, which are very different from CRF. There is presently no science-based data on degradation of polymers used as coating for CRF. Fertilizers Europe calls for the European decision-makers to undertake an impact assessment on the proposed measures for biodegradable polymers and on testing methods prior to the adoption of a degradation criteria. Otherwise, the EU production of vegetables and ornamentals will be at risk. CRF are one of the very few fertilizers used in modern ornamental plant.