Fianna Fáil Senator Darragh O’Brien has set out proposals to ensure that farmers and producers are given a fair deal when it comes to pricing and farm profitability.

The proposals include the appointment of a Groceries Code Adjudicator to oversee the relationship between supermarkets and the primary producer.

It’s part of the new Fianna Fáil strategy “Securing fair process and increased profitability for farmers”, which seeks to protect the viability of local farming and producing businesses.

The North Dublin Senator explained, “Family farming is plays an important role in the economy of North County Dublin, however over the past four years essential supports have been cut and farmers have been left exposed to market volatility. This Government has failed to protect smaller farmers and producers and instead has brought in overcomplicated and bureaucracy heavy schemes.

“The issue of fair prices is the key principle of this policy. The coming years offer a real opportunity to local farmers to grow and develop their businesses, while expanding a world class agri-food sector. However, to ensure this, farmers must be able to secure a fair price for their produce. Under the current Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney, a small number of dominant players have been allowed to set prices, further squeezing already hard pressed farmers.

“I am calling for the establishment a Groceries Code Adjudicator to oversee the relationship between supermarkets and the primary producer. This will ensure that large retailers treat their suppliers fairly and abide by the law. The Adjudicator will also be given legislative powers to sanction any breach of the law.

“This is about supporting family farms, making sure that fair prices are achieved and increasing farm profitability. Fine Gael’s decisions, which have only served the large multiples and processors, must be addressed and reversed to ensure the viability of the important farming community in North County Dublin”.