IFA President John Bryan has met with Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton to discuss further the regulation of the retail sector. He said, “The Minister assured IFA that enabling legislation as was committed to in the Programme for Government will be published this year.”
Mr. Bryan told Minister Bruton of farmers’ disappointment that Fine Gael’s long-promised legislation to regulate the retail sector had not happened.
The IFA President pressed Minister Bruton to prioritise the legislation. “All farmers want is to be able to cover their costs and make a living. The dominance of the supermarkets is forcing farmers to sell below the cost of production, which is not sustainable and is costing jobs. Without effective legislation and strong enforcement, the inequity will remain.”
“A statutory Code of Practice must address the imbalance of power in the retailer/supplier/producer relationship that threatens the Irish food supply chain.”
John Bryan said, “Retailers have used their power over producers and suppliers to devise and implement a number of methods and actions, whereby they reduce producer margins, although not directly, by reducing the returns to their suppliers. These practices of ‘hello money’ and ‘pay to play’ must stop. A Code of Practice must also address the credit terms applied by retailers, which regularly have a direct negative effect on farm cash flow.”
Concluding, John Bryan said, “along with a Code of Practice that will curb retailer dominance the Government must legislate for an Independent Ombudsman office which would have legal powers to demand information from retailers as part of their investigations and provide anonymity and confidentiality to suppliers who make complaints, to initiate investigations and have the powers to enforce penalties for non-compliance.”