War in Ukraine sparks fertilizer crisis

War in Ukraine sparks fertilizer crisis

At Ráječek Farm in the southern Czech Republic, bright, red hydroponic tomato plants tower more than 10 feet tall inside greenhouses.

The Sklenář family has worked the land on Ráječek Farm for four generations. The family once lost the farm to the state under communist rule. But several years after the Czech Republic switched to a market economy, the family regained control of the farm and launched a successful business growing hydroponic tomatoes.

“My parents had to reinvent the whole business again because if they did the same [farming] model as our grandparents, it wouldn’t have been economically sustainable,” said Matěj Sklenář, 28, the head agronomist at Ráječek Farm.

But last year, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine — a war aimed at pulling a large swath of Eastern Europe back into Russia’s influence — once again disrupted the growing season on Ráječek Farm.

Some fertilizers Sklenář uses on his hydroponic tomatoes come from Russia. But last year, those fertilizers became 10 times more expensive. 

The drastic rise in fertilizer prices is a huge problem for hydroponic farmers because they mostly don’t use organic fertilizers like compost or manure.  

Continue reading.

Image by Freepik

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