ICMSA’s McCormack attacks “deafening silence” on food inflation consequences of Climate Change policy
ICMSA President, Pat McCormack, has attacked what he called the “deafening silence” that has Government figures unwilling to note the certainty of food price inflation returning as climate change measures take effect Mr. McCormack said that farmers would have noted the comments of various Government spokespersons around recent climate related legislation and measures with curiosity and what he said was “a familiar sinking feeling” connected to the complete absence of reference to the contributions the consumers or corporate retailers will have to make.
“We keep waiting for anyone in a senior position in the Irish Government to inform the Irish public that an absolutely certain consequence of the transition to low emissions farming and primary food production is an increase in price to the consumers. That is indisputable and inevitable and it has been from the very start of this process. Why are we still waiting for a senior Government figure – Taoiseach, Tanaiste or indeed the Minister – to break the news to the Irish consumers that this fundamental and enormously expensive shift to lower emissions is (A) going to have to be paid for by everyone and (B) is going to mean the speedy end of the ‘Cheap Food’ policy?”
Mr. McCormack said farmers were entitled to be cynical about the official reluctance to just point this obvious consequence out.
“This has moved well past puzzling and it’s becoming very suspicious. There is a persistent delusion amongst the Irish public that all the change we’re talking about and planning is somehow ‘out there and someone else’s business’ and will happen without our artificially cheap food prices being affected. Every single time that the Irish Government gets a chance to disabuse the public of this fantasy, they seem unwilling to take it. Why is the Irish Government so afraid of telling Irish consumers – and the retail corporations who completely dominate our food-supply chain – that there is going to be changes and charges involved in this transition all the way along the line. And everyone is going to have to pay.”
Mr. McCormack said it was difficult to get away from the idea that those politicians who were so fearless and forthright when it came to telling farmers what to do become very nervous indeed when it came to explaining to the retailers and consumers certain unpalatable consequences of policy.
“At some stage, someone is going to have to break the bad news to the Irish public that food prices are going to go up. I am sure that the politicians aren’t looking forward to that conversation. But it has to happen and it should have started by now. If people are as committed to the new environmental reality as they keep telling the pollsters they are, then they will have no problem accepting that very shortly they are going to have to pay the real economic and environmental costs of the food they consume. It is going to be a shock initially because they have been systematically underpaying for their food for decades. But someone is going to have to pay and the farmers can’t, shouldn’t and won’t any longer. Food inflation is coming back and we’re not doing the public any favours by pretending that that is not the case. Why this deafening silence on a completely obvious consequence of a policy that we’ve already begun.
Ends 9 July 2021
Pat McCormack, 087-7608958
Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758
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