Yes We Can Commissioner Hogan
While Commissioner Hogan wrings his hands and says there is nothing he can do in relation to the crisis in Agriculture he must remember his responsibilities to the farming community.
Speaking today in the European Parliament in the debate on this issue MEP Luke Ming Flanagan outlined five areas where the Commissioner can intervene, concentrating mainly on ensuring that the primary producer gets a fair share of the 415 euro billion output of agriculture within the EU.
It is not, stated Mr Flanagan that there is no money in agriculture, billions are being made by some sectors, the share out is the problem.
1 Take on the large multiplies in the retail sector
The greed of this sector has continually eroded the farmer's share of the retail price in the last decade, milk price has dropped in the region of 40% in the last 18 months has the consumer seen the benefits of this?
Yet the EU Commission sees no need for regulatory action in its weak response the report on unfair trading practices from the Agricultural Committee in the EP.
2 Take on the cartels in the primary processing
Beef processing, pig meat processing and increasingly dairy processing are in the hands of the few. Despite the theoretic gains that this should bring to the farmer in reality it is used to control prices.
3 Examine the farm input sector
Import duties on Fertilizer, limitations on cross border trade, unnecessary regulation pushes up the farmers cost base.
Give an increased profile to, and highlight the benefits of producer groups so that farmers can increase their power in the market place.
4 Defend our interests in TTIP
Many studies show that agriculture will be the main loser in this trade agreement despite some of the claims made about dairy exports which must ring hollow to dairy farmers today.
5 Reject the Mercosur deal
The trade deal with the South American countries will completely undermine the viability of not just the beef sector but also the pig meat and poultry sectors,
Previous Commission studies has shown that a Mercosur deal would cost EU agriculture 7.8 billion euro
Perhaps it is time for farmers who provide a secure supply of high quality food for the 500 million citizens of the EU to take radical action and withdraw their services to highlight the folly this race to the bottom before they are driven to the wall.