Agflation is not just a 2012 problem.
On foot of a question by Dublin North TD Clare Daly about food price and agricultural inflation late last year, the minister for Agriculture & Food Simon Coveney answered:
High world prices for key food commodities affect Irish farmers, whose incomes will decline by over 20% in 2012. However, the sector remains healthy despite the temporary setbacks this year and is well placed to bounce back in 2013.
On Friday the CSO reported that Potatoes went up in price in 2012 by 30.5%. The potato in a staple food in Ireland, and a 30.5% rise in cost is far beyond normal inflation levels. So if potatoes are > 30% more expensive and farmers and growers are down 20% in income, it is time the government stepped in and stabilised food inflation, which is a double hit on the family budget on top of this governments failed economic policy of austerity.
It was reported last year that merchants were contacting growers to obtain the lowest grade potatoes which would normally be fed to cattle. Along with the horses for courses “horse meat” fiasco Irish families are being ripped off with inflated food prices and produce lacking any quality control.
On Morning Ireland on Friday (15.02.2013) the minister said that the horse meat issue was one month old, but everyone knows the first tests were in November 2012 and the second tests were in December 2012. Now we learn that equine DNA has been identified in a fresh food product that is produced by the Greencore Group in Ireland. While the horse meat story spreads around Europe and back to Ireland it is no comfort at all that Ireland in not the only country to be involved.
Fairer prices for farmers, far better regulation of food safety and standards and immediate government action on our food chain security is urgently required.