IFA President John Bryan will this evening (Tues) meet Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton to discuss plans for delivering a fair margin for primary producers and curbing the power of the retail multiples. He said, “The Minister must give a firm commitment that legislation contained in the Programme for Government will be prioritised and implemented without further delay. It was very disappointing to see the current legislative list did not contain the Fair Trade Bill that Fine Gael promoted so vigorously in the run-up to the recent General Election.”
John Bryan said, “IFA held a number of meetings with the facilitator John Travers in 2010 and we were assured that progress was being made on the introduction of a Code of Practice and the appointment of an Ombudsman. The Minister has now received a report from John Travers and we expect him to act quickly.”
The IFA President said he would be pressing Minister Bruton to prioritise the legislation that would fix the food supply chain. “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.”
Mr Bryan said there was increasing focus at EU Commission level and in other Member States on retail regulation. “There is now a growing recognition among lawmakers in Europe of the need for robust legislation that will ensure fair play for producers.” For example, the UK Government has introduced a Groceries Code Adjudicator Bill. The Bill seeks to establish an adjudicator to monitor and enforce the Groceries Supply Code of Practice who will be able to:
act as arbitrator in disputes between retailers and their direct suppliers;
start investigations about potential breaches of the Code based on complaints from suppliers and/or information in the public domain.
Concluding, John Bryan said, “All the political parties here accept the imperative of a Code of Practice that will curb retailer dominance, and have made commitments to deliver this. The Government must press ahead with their proposals immediately.”