Finland’s border closures with Russia create crisis for its fertilizer producers

Finland’s fertilizer producers have warned that they are facing a possible catastrophe after the interior ministry closed all but one of the country’s land-border crossings with Russia.

Finland shut four of its eight border checkpoints last week, while a further three were closed on Friday, meaning that only the Raja-Jooseppi crossing in northern Lapland remains open.

The Finnish authorities accuse Russia of helping asylum seekers to cross the Finnish border illegally, arguing that Moscow is weaponizing migration flows with a view to undermining public order and national security. This is a claim that Russia denies.

The closures mean, though, that Finland’s fertilizer producers are now unable to import from Russia the raw materials they require.

Cemagro, for instance, imported all of its inputs – including nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium – through the Niirala checkpoint in North Karelia, which is now closed to cross-border rail traffic.

The company, which accounts for approximately 16% of Finland’s fertilizer output, says that using a different crossing would not be a viable solution.

According to media reports, it is in talks with government officials to see whether rail traffic can be permitted to continue. Cemagro is also reportedly exploring whether it can import fertilizers from Latvia and Uzbekistan.

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