Promoting sustainability and prosperity: The case of floor price subsidies for Irish agricultural commodities
In this article on www.thatsfarming.com, Tadgh Quill-Manley is a council member of the Munster Agricultural Society, and a board member of the Irish Horse Welfare Trust, discusses subsidies.
He is also a volunteer board member of Cork Craft & Design, and the Cork Textiles Network.
Ireland’s lush, fertile fields thrive on agriculture, the foundation of the country’s heritage and economy.
As the European Union commits to sustainable development and equitable livelihoods, it is imperative to consider proposals to introduce floor price subsidies for key agricultural commodities – milk, meat and wool – to strengthen Ireland’s agricultural sector. is.
This article attempts to explain the rationale behind such subsidies, citing various relevant EU regulations and directives that emphasize the need to ensure the resilience, prosperity and future of Irish farmers.
EU Regulations and Directives: A Solid Foundation
Central to this debate is the important Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), a testament to the EU’s commitment to developing a resilient and sustainable agricultural sector.
This framework aligns the principles of fair remuneration and rural development. Directive 1308/2013, introducing a common market organization for agricultural products, recognizes the delicate balance between market forces and the need to protect farmers from undue price fluctuations.
On this basis we meet the spirit of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agriculture Agreement that the EU is a signatory to.
By considering subsidies that strengthen rural livelihoods and promote sustainable practices, we endorse the WTO’s recognition of the centrality of agriculture to socioeconomic well-being.
The introduction of price floor subsidies for Irish agricultural products would be a beacon of hope for Irish farmers, creating an environment that protects them from unpredictable market volatility.
The dairy sector, which makes a significant contribution to the Irish economy, could get a much-needed boost from subsidies that guarantee fair compensation.
This approach is endorsed by Article 42 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and recognizes the importance of improving the living and working conditions of farmers.
In addition, meat production, another cornerstone of Irish agriculture, will benefit from subsidies that guarantee realistic prices for livestock. Directive 2009/128/EC on promoting the sustainable use of pesticides underscores the EU’s intention to provide incentives for environmentally responsible practices.
Minimum price subsidies, as practised in other countries through various historical examples, allow farmers to prioritize animal welfare, high-quality feed and eco-friendly agriculture, and are fully compatible with the EU’s pursuit of sustainable development.
A return to tradition and local prosperity
A timeless symbol of Irish heritage, wool has faced challenges in recent decades. By subsidizing the wool industry, the EU can boost local economies and rural employment opportunities.
Established by Regulation 1305/2013, the LEADER program explicitly supports local development projects that revitalize traditional practices. Subsidizing wool production embodies this spirit, revitalizing an industry that is deeply tied to Irish culture.
As the winds of change sweep across Europe, the European Union’s commitment to a sustainable and just future is becoming increasingly clear.
The introduction of minimum price subsidies for Irish agricultural commodities (milk, meat, wool) is a beacon of hope for farmers, communities and traditions.
Rooted in the principles of CAP, fortified by WTO agreements, and driven by a vision of prosperity, these subsidies represent a tangible testament to the EU’s dedication to nurturing sustainability and safeguarding the livelihoods that enrich our landscapes and souls.
In the verdant pastures of Ireland, a brighter, more resilient future awaits—a future fueled by the harmonious synergy of agriculture, sustainability, and prosperity.
However, as members of society, we are charged with social responsibilities, in which we must protect the most vulnerable. In doing so, the real living issues facing working farmers today must take priority.