Trade deal ‘a threat to growers’
Some could be forced out of business, claims Landworkers Alliance
Smallholders will be among protesters at a demo in London tomorrow (Saturday) over a proposed international trade agreement which they say will have a negative impact on farmers and growers and force some out of business.
Members of the Landworkers’ Alliance, which represents small famers and growers, will take part in the demo, and it called for the free trade negotiations between the EU and the US to be scrapped.
Humphery Lloyd, a grower and member of the Landworkers’ Alliance, said: “The controversial Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is the biggest bilateral trade deal in history but negotiations are taking place behind closed doors. They aim to ‘harmonise’ standards and regulations, which will mean a shift towards the lowest common denominator, with serious repercussions for farmer’s livelihoods and public health.
“If the corporations involved get their way we will see the increasing import of inferior produce into the EU which will depress prices for farmers. Furthermore, important health and safety standards are at risk with US negotiators pushing to remove regulations on genetically modified foods, increase the quantity of pesticide residues permitted and allow the use of dangerous chemicals, antibiotics and growth hormones previously banned in the EU.
“The EU’s pre-negotiation concession to allow imports of American beef decontaminated with lactic acid spray is indicative of what is to come – quality in farming and food processing will be driven down into a race to the bottom with farmers and the public loosing out.
“This agreement is shaping up to be a hand out to corporations at the expense of public health and food security. If we degrade our import standards in line with the demands we will have more than just chlorine soaked chicken to worry about – this will force farmers out of business and seriously erode UK food sovereignty. We demand that the government stops selling out UK farmers and consumers in these negotiations.”
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The LWA is an member of the international peasant farming movement La Via Campesina which represents 200 million small-scale producers around the world. It campaigns for the rights of small-scale producers and lobbies the UK government and European parliament.
The TTIP agreement could be finalised this year.