Estonian chamber proposes nationalization of fertilizer subject to sanctions

  • 2022-07-26
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – The Estonian Chamber of Agriculture and Commerce has sent an appeal to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications and the Ministry of Rural Affairs, in which it proposes that the sanctioned ammonium nitrate stored in Muuga and Sillamae, as learned by the chamber, be used for its intended purpose in Estonian agriculture.

In total, according to the chamber, about 69,000 tons of fertilizer has been stored at the two locations. The amount covers practically the entire annual demand for ammonium nitrate in Estonian agriculture. 

In a situation where ammonium nitrate is supplied to Estonia at very high prices from countries not subject to sanctions, it is unreasonable to declare the fertilizer hazardous waste and also to bear the costs associated with its disposal, while it can be turned into a useful commodity in agriculture, the chamber said.

In order to ensure the safety of Estonian residents, it makes sense to relocate the ammonium nitrate stored in Sillamae and Muuga as soon as possible. According to the chamber, there are two ways to do this -- to send the commodity back to the country of origin or to a third country which has not imposed sanctions on Russia and Belarus, or to distribute the quantity among Estonian fertilizer traders, who have an interest in selling it and who also have the ability to handle fertilizers safely.  

Although Estonia's major fertilizer sellers have established an intragroup rule that they will not trade in fertilizers of Russian or Belarusian origin, businesses are prepared to make certain exceptions to ensure the safety of the population. If the fertilizer stored in Sillamae and Muuga is nationalized, it will be easier for operators to sell it on the Estonian market. If declared state-owned commodity, the fertilizer can be sold, for example, at auction.

The chamber emphasizes that the decision to exempt the ammonium nitrate from sanctions or to nationalize the amounts kept in Sillamae and Muuga should be made as soon as possible, because in this case it will be possible to use the fertilizer already this autumn during the fall  sowing period of winter crops, which begins in August and lasts until October.