If the Mercosur deal is ratified it will see the equivalent of one million cattle a year being transported up to 11,000km from South America, according to independent TD Denis Naughten.
Speaking in the Dáil yesterday afternoon, Wednesday, July 10, Roscommon Galway TD, who pledged to vote against the Mercosur deal, said:
“Irish farmers get just €3.10 for every €10 paid for beef in our supermarkets and the farmer’s share has been slashed by one quarter in the last 15 years.
Over that period South American beef has been used as one of the key tools in undermining the margin paid to suckler farmers.
“Brazilian ranchers are clearing an area of rainforest the size of Co. Cork every year in order to export beef into a European market which already produces enough beef to meet its own needs.
“What will that do to our climate?” deputy Naughten asked.
The TD stressed that the Mercosur deal is a “bad deal for Irish beef farmers and also a bad deal for our climate, and that is why I’ll be voting against it”.
Earlier this week, deputy Naughten highlighted the result of a survey comparing the farmer share of beef prices over the past 15 years.
The survey carried out this week, excluding special offers, shows that the farmer gets €3.76/kg of beef while shoppers are paying on average €11.99/kg of round roast in their supermarket, a mark up of 218%.
“While the processing and supermarket sector will contest these figures, what they cannot ignore is the fact that when this is compared to the same survey 15 years ago, the share going to the farmer has dropped by a quarter over that period,” he said.