Following a constructive meeting between Aldi bosses and the IFA, progress has been made on a number of key concerns that led to recent protests by vegetable producers outside the retailer’s head office in Naas last month.
At the meeting, senior Aldi representatives confirmed that they would engage an independent expert with knowledge of the production costs of Irish vegetable growing, to ensure that future procurement processes do not undermine grower viability.
The retailer also agreed to strengthen their traceability systems to include random checks on facilitators and growers who are supposed to be supplying Irish produce.
Aldi also confirmed that facilitators submitting tenders in future will include a signed letter of undertaking from their grower(s) and subsequently, Aldi will contact the grower directly to ensure validity.
IFA President Eddie Downey said that farmers cannot continue to produce more for less and that they are entitled to the cost of production and a decent margin. He said retail multiples have a corporate responsibility to ensure primary producers are fairly treated in the food supply chain.
Mr. Downey said that the positive engagement with Aldi on the issues was welcome, and IFA would carefully monitor the situation to ensure growers, who are working hard to produce the quantities and quality demanded, see improvements.
Eddie Downey said that the retailer has also agreed to check that the facilitators who committed to supply Aldi under the latest tendering process have Irish farmers contracted to supply the product. If they don’t, Mr Downey said that they should not be given the business.