More must be done to protect and support farmers from unfair trading practices, Fianna Fail’s spokesperson on Agriculture, Charlie McConalogue has said.

To ensure a fair return for the primary producer and equity and transparency in the food supply chain, McConalogue has yesterday published proposals that will give a legislative basis for a National Food Ombudsman.

McConalogue explained that the bill makes provision for the establishment of a National Food Ombudsman to mediate, investigate and to rule on disputes between retailers, wholesalers and their suppliers.

This introduction of an ombudsman, he said, will lead to a more transparent and equitable food supply chain.

This will ensure that farmers who may be subject to unfair trading practices by retailers or wholesalers would have direct access to an independent Food Ombudsman within the CCPC.

“The Ombudsman would also have specific responsibility for investigating and resolving disputes,” he said.

The spokesperson on Agriculture also said that Fianna Fail will continue to fight for farmers to ensure they receive a fair price for their produce and to improve transparency in the food supply chain.

“Last year we submitted proposals to the European Commission for the protection of primary producers from the power of the multiples and the major processors.

“It was very disappointing that European Agriculture Ministers failed to reach agreement last week on a common definition of unfair trading practices.

Farmers are being let down at a time of incredible market volatility. More must be done to protect and support primary producers.

“This Bill is one step in the process. I look forward to engaging with all interested stakeholders to receive feedback on our Bill with a view to introducing it in the Dáil,” he said.