Protect Local Manx Agriculture, Eliminate Live Exports, Reduce Taxpayer Subsidies.
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The Isle of Man Government has recently publicised it's intention to tender out the operation of the Meat Plant, with the intention of reducing it's operating costs (often misleadingly described as "losses"). This petition believes that this action is effectively opening the door to the government walking away from the service entirely. Why describe it as a public service? Because it ensures local food security and quality. Without it we are entirely at the mercy of international markets, and the geopolitics of food subsidisation / quality control elsewhere in the world, over which we have no control.
If the mean plant is lost local agriculture will suffer greatly across the board. Those who are left will be forced to export live. If live exports are banned, and there is no meat plant, local mainstream production will effectively cease, very quickly. All quality, welfare and security control will be lost.
Nobody wants live exports. Nobody wants to be subsidising farmers to produce nothing. Nobody wants to be subsidising the meat plant to run at a loss because it cannot compete with highly subsidised agriculture elsewhere in the world. The world is changing. The idea that we cannot protect our market due to international obligations is highly likely to be thrown out of the window in the short term, with the advent of Trump, Brexit, and likely advances of politicians like Marine Le Pen in France (see her agricultural policies for an insight in to the new era of protectionism - and don't think "it'll never happen" - remember Trump).
This petition understands that the IOM Government is committed to maintaining a low taxation economy, and so it effectively cannot support local agriculture as it has been in the past, against large sovereign (able to print money) nations which are still subsidising. This petition therefore calls on the government to reduce support, in return for protection. Farmers don't want to be paid to do nothing. They want a level playing field.
1. Restrict Live Exports, in combination with strict and balanced import controls. Local unsubsidised production needs to be protected from subsidised imports. This will result in higher prices, but the alternative is more direct subsidy from the taxpayer - if we wish to maintain local production.
2. Reduce all payments to agriculture production and processors, in combination with strict and balanced import controls. It should never be possible to buy imported cheaper than locally produced.
3. If necessary look at ways to subsidise local consumption - not production! Subsidising production leads to waste, subsidising consumption (where required) maintains the market at the correct level.
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