Fianna Fáil Agriculture Spokesperson Éamon Ó Cuív has travelled to Brussels today to urge the European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan to deliver greater price and gross margin transparency in the EU food sector. The Fianna Fáil submission wants to ensure that farmers get a fair deal in relation to the prices they are being paid for their produce by large retailers and multinationals.
Speaking following today’s meeting, Deputy Ó Cuív said, “I had a very fruitful discussion about my proposals with Commissioner Hogan’s cabinet. I emphasised the need for urgent action at European level to legislate for full disclosure of profit margins enjoyed by the major food retailers. Many factors are influencing the market income of European and Irish farmers. These include price volatility, uncertainties over energy markets, increased extreme weather events and increased competition from international suppliers.
“It is now clear that farmers are consistently losing out because of the unequal balance of power between the large supermarket multiples and family farmers and producers. The key to improving margins for farmers is to bring about a properly functioning EU food sector, both at processing and at retailing levels.
“The high price Irish consumers are being forced to pay can be partly be attributed to inefficiencies within the supply chain, which is mainly caused by retailers retaining profit margins three times greater in Ireland than elsewhere.
“Contained in the proposals I submitted to Commissioner Hogan are calls for specific EU legislation that would make it mandatory for food retailing firms that exceed certain thresholds to supply information and data on their profit margins on specific food items in each of the member states they operate in.
“These proposals would be relatively simple to implement and would effectively address a Europe-wide problem at EU level. Meanwhile, greater transparency would prevent the abuse of the dominant position currently enjoyed by the large retailers. I look forward to continued cooperation with Commissioner Hogan on this issue, which is seriously affecting farmers’ ability to get a fair price for their produce in the food supply chain”.