March 17, 2011 Governments Should let the Market Work
The European farmers’ unions (Copa-Cogeca) have warned that EU livestock farmers face a “drastic situation” as they are squeezed by high input costs and low prices.
According to the farmer’s union, imports from non-EU countries are increasing, and they do not face the same production costs or meet the EU’s high food safety, welfare and environmental standards.
For example, production costs in the beef sector in Brazil ($113/100 kg liveweight) are nearly one-third the level of those found in Italy ($326/100 kg liveweight). In France, they reach $310/100 kg liveweight, compared to just $102/100 kg liveweight in Argentina.
“Unless this trend is reversed, there could be major consequences for EU agricultural productivity in the future and ultimately for EU food security. The Commission must consequently ensure that farmers get a better return from the market. More transparency is needed, and there needs to be a closer look at the distribution of prices and margins along the food chain. European competition rules also need to be adjusted to enable producer organisations, such as cooperatives, to grow in size and scale, contributing to a better balanced food chain,” said Copa-Cogeca Secretary-General Pekka Pesonen.
In a separate statement COPA-COGECA announced it will host a press conference March 29 in Brussels, during which it will establish a new “World Farmers Platform” that is being formed in the wake of increasing concerns over world food security.
I have a tough time feeling sorry for them. They have used political issues to protect their markets and now when consumers are showing an honest choice with their food dollars EU producers are finding consumers don’t share the high food safety, welfare and environmental standards concerns that EU politicians have used to protect their growers.
US producers have endured tariffs, bans, and GMO hysteria disrupting the free market and watched third world people go hungry because of it. Maybe consumers would rather have a full belly then make a political statement that protects EU producers. It is time to have all governments quit screwing with the market and let it work the way it is made to work.