Farmers that grow fruit, vegetables and produce liquid milk in Ireland and across Europe face huge challenges from large multinational supermarkets that are putting pressure on them to sell their produce at very low profit levels.

The issue cannot just be tackled at a national level, according to Fianna Fáil Agriculture Spokesperson Éamon Ó Cuív TD, who says the party will now work on formulating a European response to this problem.

“This week in Brussels, I led a delegation of elected representatives to meet with members of the European Parliament as well as officials from the European Commission,” said Deputy Ó Cuív.

“I have agreed to work with Fianna Fáil Ireland East MEP Liam Aylward to formulate policy in relation to ensuring producers meet fair, balanced and sustainable conditions from the large supermarket chains that are often part of larger multinationals.

“This can’t simply be tackled on a national basis, it needs to be addressed on a European-wide level. I will work with MEP Aylward as well as members of the ELDR group in the European Parliament on this issue. It is my intention to go to Brussels early next year to meet with the relevant parties in the European Parliament to put across the concerns of these farmers.

“Before this I also intend on meeting with fruit and vegetable growers as well as liquid milk suppliers to discuss the challenges they face, I plan to involve them in the drawing up of proposals to deal with their challenges. Their considerations must be taken into account in order to sufficiently address the issues they face.

“Food producers in Ireland need a fair deal, they are being squeezed by the big supermarkets to a point where it is not profitable to grow or produce their food. Farmers are the backbone of Irish society and we must ensure that their trade is not placed in any further danger.”