The Blog of Iberia Cano



The TTIP, a dream come true. The dream of large agri-food corporations. For the rest of society it is a nightmare .

Agri-food corporations have been claiming in the World Trade Organization (WTO) against various European regulations that protect key elements of our food security.

The WTO has not been able to get to where they want, so it seems that the time has finally come to solve their problems and for this they have put their negotiators in the form of government representatives The United States and the European Union. The aim is to achieve a trade agreement between the two regions which, unlike the rest of this type of treaties already signed around the world, does not seek to "open" borders to US food but to "open" the European agri-food regulatory bodies.

In addition, the treaty has a broader vocation: it will not only solve its problems in the Atlantic area but also set the standard at the global level of what it believes should be the foundation of the new stage of liberalization economic development.

This is a new treaty format because in reality, if we look at tariffs on bilateral agricultural trade between the US and the EU, we see that they have done nothing but reduce in the last decades without necessity some of a major trade agreement. Thus the United States has spent 6 years of an average agricultural tariff on European products from 9.9% to 6.6%. In the EU it has gone from 19.1% to 12.8%. In order to understand the magnitude of this data, let us say that the average agricultural tariff in the world is 60%.

If you finally end up agreeing, the effects on food health and consumer rights will be immense, but from the point of view of production and the rural world we can definitely assure you that they will be devastating.

If we apply the old saying "when you see your neighbor's beards cut, put yours to soak", we should note the experience of Mexico after 20 years of signing North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) , and we could see the magnitude of the problem. During these years of the treaty, two million peasants have abandoned their crops and emigrated to the United States. In addition, Mexico, which was a large maize producer capable of supplying its population, has become an importing country of this basic grain for the diet of millions of its citizens. The price of maize fell after the signature by more than 59%, which allowed the entry of millions of tons of low quality maize at a low price, thus expelling and annihilating indigenous quality production, which was produced by thousands of peasants and Mexican peasants. In other words, through the treaty, the large corporations of the agrarian had been given a patent of Corsican, which they soon served. This destroyed in a very short time the peasant production base of the country, and with it its undoubted social, environmental and cultural value. They simply could not compete with these new rules.

In fact, we would be wrong to think that this is a battle between food systems and companies in one band and another in the Atlantic. It is really a battle between a model of agriculture and food for large corporations and the model of peasant production in both countries.

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It is clear that the two food systems are by now different, yes, but the difference is only in the degree to which corporate food has deepened in agriculture and livestock and has spread, not in the paradigm. In fact, the European administration and its states have been increasingly resembling each other, and for many years it has been doing nothing more than harmonizing with the American scheme. The successive reforms of the Common Agricultural Policy , changes in the hygiene package and a large number of regulations show this.

It is not by chance that we are experiencing the greatest dairy crisis in several countries, caused by the EU's decision to end one of the last market regulatory instruments, such as production that still protected small farmers. The decision has been that only the large, the most integrated and those that can compete survive, even if this means an economic, territorial and social crisis of extensive places like the Cantabrian coast.

In addition, reading the demands of the European and American family peasantry also shows that they are exactly the same, as well as their analysis.

In terms of size, the US has three times as much land area as the EU and three times fewer farms. That is, each farm is much larger, on average, than the European. Specifically, in the EU the average number of hectares per farm is 18, while in the US this figure rises to 176. In Spain, more than 50 percent of the farms have less than 5 hectares. The SAU (useful agricultural area) is 24.8 million hectares. If we apply the US ratio , that same UAA would work for just over 130,000 farms. Recall that the current number is one million.

Therefore, what we are faced with is not a trade treaty beneficial to the productive sectors but a dramatic conversion of the current system of agriculture and livestock that ends the existence of the peasantry.

This conversion is part of an increase in the current oligopolistic control of the key stages of production, processing and food distribution that conditions the whole chain, altering the prices received by the farms and it reduces them more and more. With steadily rising production costs, family farms are trapped in ever-shrinking commercial margins, and this inevitably pushes them to a growth and intensification that seeks to survive through economies of scale.

This process would be seen with increased and accelerated TTIP, because obviously the situation created is like fishing in a closed sea with ever fewer fish and with growing boats. There is no fish for all of them and only a few of them, bigger and bigger, will survive, the rest disappear. Those who survive, when they look in the mirror, will realize that they have mutated from family farm to factory and that their dependence on agribusiness has not only declined but has become stronger, embedding itself in it in an almost organic way.

So the law will either grow or die. Intensifies or dies. Join us or die.

Now imagine for a moment our country without small and medium farmers and ranchers. Imagine all our food in the hands of four multinationals.

The cost of avoiding this nightmare will be much less than leaving it .