By Collective Ireland
Irish Agriculture, deemed critically important to economic recovery, provides 300,000 jobs around the country. It contributes over 10 Billion Euros to the Irish economy every year.
Irish farmers consider TTIP a direct threat to their farms, their families, their culture and their future.
The deregulatory emphasis of TTIP will negatively affect the dairy, beef, sheep, pig and poultry farmers of Ireland and the 300,000 jobs they help to provide across both rural and urban Ireland.
In the beef sector alone TTIP will allow for direct competition between Irish farmers and their American counterparts. This will ensure that small to medium sized Irish farmers will have to compete with the business of large-scale and intensive American farms.
To tip the scales in their favour, the American farmer can rely on growth hormones banned in Europe, cheap genetically modified feed, also banned in Europe, and significantly lower labour costs.
There are 139,829 farms in Ireland with an average size of 77 acres.
There are 2.1 Million farms in America, with an average size of 434 acres.
Common sense tells us that there will be no competition – Irish farmers will not benefit from a deregulated market between the EU and the USA.
Irish agriculture relies almost exclusively on the export market, with 90% of beef and 85% of dairy products exported annually.
TTIP will make cheaper, lower quality and, most importantly, health threatening produce a more attractive and lucrative purchase to foodstuff producers and it will flood the marketplace with such produce.
EU member states account for nearly half of our agricultural export market, but EU commissioners have already acknowledged that a sharp decline in Intra-EU Trade is expected following ratification of TTIP. With overall gains for the Irish agriculture sector already considered marginal, a recent study carried out by Copenhagen Economics insists that the value of Irish beef output alone could contract by as much as 50 Million Euros if the deal goes ahead.
This will leave small to medium sized Irish farmers with no other option than to consider a move to intensive, environmentally unsustainable farming practices. It is an option that will not bear fruit. Or beef. Or milk. We have neither the land nor the inclination to countenance such a move.
Such a move, given the family nature and cultural practices of Irish farming will lead only to the widespread disappearance of generations-old Irish farms. The IFA know this, Teagasc know this so therefore the Irish Government is also aware of this.
Understand: without TTIP, the USA is still Ireland’s biggest trading partner – we export about 25 Billion Euros in goods and services to the US and import over twice as much from the US every single year. Tariffs and trade barriers between the markets are already at an all time low. After TTIP, our export market will without doubt diminish significantly while our level of import will only ever rise.
Irish Agriculture does not need to be on the negotiating table for TTIP.
Irish Agriculture, deemed essential to our economic recovery, should not be sacrificed as a makeweight in a trade agreement designed only to widen the gap between the wealthy and the working class.
To the farmers i say if you don’t believe me ask Mr. Downey President of the Irish Farmers Association, or ask Teagasc, the Agriculture & Food Development Authority.
Or read the Farmer’s Journal.
To the townies i say pay attention – nearly half those 300,000 jobs generated by Irish farmers are in urban based food and drink manufacturing companies.
TTIP is a stick without a carrot, and it will destroy small to medium sized farmers and their families if it is allowed to proceed.
Join the Protests. All the Protests.