Mayo TD Dara Calleary has called on the Government to introduce fair trade legislation without delay to ensure that farmers and food producers get a fair price for their produce.
The urgent need for laws governing the relationship between retailers and suppliers was highlighted in a Fianna Fáil Private Members motion on agriculture which was passed in the Dáil this week.
“Thousands of farmers protested in Dublin this week to raise awareness of the need for fair trade legislation,” Deputy Calleary said. “The protest was in response to the Competition Authority’s raid on head offices of the Irish Farmers’ Association last week due to an alleged breach of competition legislation as a result of the IFA campaign to achieve fair prices for agriculture producers.
“This is further evidence that fair trade legislation is long overdue and must be brought before the Dáil as soon as possible. The farming community needs to be protected against the power of multiples to drive prices down in a way that makes agricultural production unsustainable.”
According to Dep Calleary Fianna Fáil introduced a successful Private Members Motion on Agriculture in the Dáil calling on the Government to recognise that agriculture and the agri-food sector is the most important indigenous industry in this country and will play a crucial role in creating jobs and boosting exports.
“As part of this motion, Fianna Fáil has urged the Government to introduce fair trade legislation that will establish a mandatory code of practice governing the relationship between retailers and suppliers. We must ensure that there is a balanced relationship between the various players in the grocery goods sector, particularly given its crucial role in economic growth,” outlined Dep Calleary.
“For example, the dairy farmers’ share of the retail price of liquid milk has fallen from 42 per cent in 1996 to 26 per cent in 2009. However, the Competition Authority’s raid last week indicates that it does not appreciate the need for a fair price for primary producers. We must ensure the need for fair prices for farmers and food producers here in Mayo and across the country is an essential element of our national policy on agriculture,” he concluded.