Irish farmers respond to Brazil

The Irish Farmers Association (IFA) has responded to the Brazilian beef industry’s dismissal of attacks on Brazilian beef as protectionism and jealousy.

Responding to a statement released by the Association of Brazilian Beef Exporters (ABIEC) last week, Irish Farmers Association (IFA) president Padraig Walshe described it as an "attack" on the European Union Common Agricultural Policy.

He said that Brazilian beef processors should address the “ongoing failure” to meet EU standards rather than trying to undermine the CAP.

Walshe said that the billion multinational beef processing firms represented by ABIEC seem to have failed to understand the “consumer-driven dynamics” of the European market. He added that ABIEC’s “arrogant talk” on globalisation, foot-and-mouth disease and trading beef commodities, which fail to meet EU standards, have “no place in the European market”.

Pointing to the most recent Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) report on Brazil, Walshe said that half of the holdings inspected by the FVO failed to meet EU requirements on the important issues of registration, traceability and movement controls.

He added that the Brazilian beef sector is also under fire over the destruction of the Amazon rainforest and allegations of corruption.

“Instead of lashing out at Europe, ABIEC should sort out the problems within the Brazilian beef sector and clean up its act,” he said.

ABIEC’s statement came after repeated attacks on Brazilian beef by UK and Irish farm associations. ABIEC director Otavio Hermont Cançado said that Irish farmers were jealous over the rapid expansion of Brazil’s beef trade and were trying to “justify their lack of ability” by casting aspersions on those “who have overcome hurdles and moved forwards”.

Cançado said it was “striking” to see countries and representative organisations “approach global trade as if they were still in primary school, kicking and screaming to attract attention and achieve their objectives”.

He said that UK and Irish farmers had a “lower level of competitive excellence” and were using attacks on Brazilian beef to protect an “absurd” system of subsidies and tariffs.

“Brazil’s path has already been mapped out by the competence, maturity and competitiveness of its producers and its processing industries. It now remains to be seen how long the ‘Irish child’ will take before it matures and becomes a competitor up to our standards,” he said.

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