Consumers don’t pay enough for food


“Simply put, consumers – through many retailers – are not paying enough for quality food. This is the root of the problem in terms of sustainable agriculture.

That’s what ICMSA President Pat McCormack told attendees at the organization’s AGM on Friday, December 3.e, 2021.

He thinks that if politicians are as serious about sustainability as they “continue to give us”, then they will have to make sure that the price of food reflects the economic and environmental costs of producing that food.

“If this point continues to be sidestepped in the interest of not offending consumers, then sustainability will not and cannot be achieved.”

“We will stay where we are now, where multinational retail companies with large communications departments engage in endless ‘green laundering’ and create an illusion of sustainability. “

“The idea that costs and regulations can continue to be added to farmers or primary producers to produce better and better quality food at no additional cost to the consumer – or retailers – is the biggest threat to the world. family farm. “

Sustainable agriculture

He believes that if people want “real” sustainability, then they have to pay a “sustainable” price that delivers “real” income to family farms.

“Over the past 30 years Irish farmers have been systematically underpaid for the high quality food they produce. They have effectively subsidized both retail businesses and consumers. “

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“Farmers are getting the same price they were 30 years ago. With rising input and regulatory costs, this is simply untenable. “

Moreover, he said the problem is not even static. He said the situation is deteriorating with more and more regulations and standards being imposed on primary producers without “any mention” of cost sharing.

He thinks this is another one of those ‘decision-making’ moments.

McCormack said Ireland was either becoming sustainable or maintaining the “cheap food” policy it “had for decades.”

“And remember, the cheap food policy was only cheap for consumers because we – the farmers – had them.”

He told participants that he welcomed initiatives at EU level on this issue.

“These must be completed as soon as possible and prevent unsustainable food imports from undermining sustainable systems within the EU,” he added.

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