IRELAND - The real test of new legislation designed to ensure fairness in the food chain would be a fairer return to producers, according to IFA President Eddie Downey.
He said that producers should receive returns that the cost of production and leaves a margin to reward their work and investment.
Mr Downey was reacting to the announcement by the Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton that regulations are to be introduced to ensure fairness in the food chain.
Mr Downey said, "IFA has campaigned for a long time on this issue, and the fact that the Government has finally published the legislation is progress. It is a first step and the legislation must be passed through the Oireachtas quickly.
"It must be sufficiently robust to restore equity to the food supply chain and curb the dominance of the retail multiples. The latest figures released show the three major multiples control over 80 per cent of the grocery market."
The IFA Executive Council will meet next week and analyse the legislation in detail. The Council will be bringing forward farmers suggestions to ensure its effectiveness. In addition, IFA will meet with the Department of Agriculture, which will have a specific role in this area.
Mr Downey said, "The retail multiples are over dominant in the food supply chain and some of them are engaged in unfair and predatory pricing practices, which are impacting very negatively on the viability of primary producers. Strong and effective legislation, both at national and EU level, is needed to ensure producers are paid a fair price which reflects production costs and leaves an acceptable margin."
The IFA President warned that without proper enforcement powers, the role of the new Commission as envisaged in the legislation will be toothless. "There is little point in the Government fulfilling its promise if it doesn’t provide the necessary back-up to tackle the retailers."
TheMeatSite News Desk