Retail Council Report March 2023
Agricultural and Food Supply Chain Bill 2022
New Office for Fairness and Transparency
The role of this new office will be to provide for principles of fairness and This Bill was approved by Cabinet in March 2022, will allow for the establishment of an Office for transparency in the agricultural and food supply chain, to strengthen the position of farmers, fishers and other suppliers and in addition carry out reporting and analysis of price and market data
Following public consultation, the Bill is making its way through the Oireachtas and was at committee stage in recent weeks. Following a detailed submission by IFA and an address by IFA President Tim Cullinane to the committee, several amendments proposed by Members of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture to strengthen the powers of the new Office have been accepted into the Bill by The Minister.
The Bill also provides that the new Office will be the Enforcement Authority concerning prohibited unfair trading practices (UTPs) in the agricultural and food supply chain. This office will have authority to enter premises, request and demand information and to issues legal notices if necessary to those in breach of UTPs directive
The Enforcement Authority (EA) is already established and lead by Mr Noel Collins within The Department of Agriculture (DAFM) but will transfer to the new Office of Fairness and Transparency when established. IFA have engaged with Noel Collins and have anonymously submitting several complaints on behalf of IFA members to UTP violations in recent months.
When will the new office come into effect?
Their Bill is on the priority list of legislation before the Oireachtas and will be before both houses of the Oireachtas, The Dail and of The Seanad for approval and signing into law in Q2 leaving the new Office to be up and running in Summer 2023. The recruitment process for the lead Food Regulator and CEO of the Office is currently at an advanced stage.
General functions and role of the Office.
- Promote fairness and transparency in the agricultural and food supply chain and in particular for farmers, fishers and small food businesses.
- Make available analysis of information on price and market data
- Enforce compliance unfair trading practices
- Refer cases to the Director of Public Prosecutions where the Office.
The Office shall have a Board which shall consist of the following members:
Board and membership appointed by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine
- 7 ordinary members, of which three shall be primary producers.
- The Board shall establish relevant committees.
- IFA will look to have representation on both the Board and relevant committees.
- CEO of the Office, selected by the Board and to be approved by the Minister.
NOTE: Bill relates to Directive (EC) 2019/633 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 April 2019 on unfair trading practices in business-to-business relationships in the agricultural and food supply chain