New Retailer Legislation Is A Waste Of Time - IFA

President of the Irish Farmers Association (IFA), Eddie Downey, has said the Government's draft Competition and Consumer Protection Bill will do absolutely nothing to protect vulnerable farmers and suppliers.

Mr Downey warned "the proposed Bill that fails to square up to the power of the retailers. Unless the Government moves to substantially strengthen the Bill, it will represent a waste of time and IFA will have no option but to withdraw our support for the legislation".

Mr Downey stressed "the draft legislation as it stands will not stop the outrageous 5c/kg below cost selling that seriously de-estabilised the Irish vegetable sector last Christmas. Neither is there provision for an independent Ombudsman to investigate complaints and oversee the behaviour of retailers as regards the grocery trade".

He continued: "Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton's Bill falls far short of what is required to rebalance power in the food supply chain and to stop unfair trading practices by the large retail multiples. The Minister must stop paying lip service to the real concerns of suppliers.

"It's time for the Government to get serious and for Minister for Agriculture and Food Simon Coveney to 'tog out' for farmers and suppliers. Otherwise, the multiples will continue to drive down prices to unsustainable levels, and impose conditions on suppliers that jeopardise the sustainability of Irish food producers and suppliers."

IFA has identified a number of key amendments that are required if the legislation is to be effective in making a real change in the relationships between retailers, suppliers and farmers as primary producers.

Mr Downey said IFA would be putting pressure on Minister Coveney and Government TDs to have the Bill amended in order to address the real concerns of primary producers and smaller suppliers.


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