Speculation is growing that Brazil’s agri-business sector was supportive of the attempted coup d’état in that country last week.
This should be a matter of deep concern for the Irish government, given the vast quantities of maize, soya and other agri-related products imported from Brazil into this country on an almost daily basis.
In my opinion, what happened in Brazilia was a serious attack on democracy, which should be called out for what it is by countries around the world.
At the very least, Ireland’s agriculture minister, Charlie McConalogue, should make a public statement on this matter, indicating that attempts are being made to ascertain the role that was played by Brazil’s agri-food industries in the deplorable events.
And, if it so happens that a clear link is established in this regard, then a decision should be taken to ban agri-food imports from Brazil by way of response.
And, if it turns out that Ireland cannot act unilaterally on such a matter, then a concerted response by the EU should be enacted.
Brazil is one of the world’s agri-food ‘powerhouses’. However, we are not talking about a nation of small farmers.
Agriculture in Brazil is driven by big business interests; operations with a deplorable track record when it comes to habitat destruction and environmental degradation across the board.
Here in this country, we strive to uphold the highest standards of democracy, it is one of our most fundamental human rights.
For this reason, the Irish government should make it known that any attempts made by Brazil’s farming and food industry to undermine the principles of democracy in its own country will have consequences.
In truth, this is a moral issue that has nothing at all to do with economic interest.
Agri-business operations here may well point out that local feed compounders need continuing access to the likes of Brazilian soya.
But this is not the point. The rest of the world looked on as Russia steadily encroached into Ukraine over the past decade, and look where we are today.
Calling out Brazil’s agri-business sector, if this needs to be done, would also send a very positive message to the people of Brazil that we here stand up for the principles associated with democracy.
Dare I also point out that future restrictions on Brazilian grain and protein imports would do a lot to boost Ireland’s own tillage sector.