The Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney dropped the ball in failing to secure a fair price deal for farmers as part of the last CAP deal, according to Fianna Fail’s spokesperson on agriculture Eamon O Cuiv.

He said inflation and increased compliance costs will serve to reduce the real value of the new CAP payments over the next five years.

“Farmers are now fully aware of the fact that a proportion of the monies they receive through GLAS and the new genomics’ scheme must be re-allocated to consultants. This is what I mean by enhanced compliance costs.

“So, the current pressure on farmgate prices represents a lose- lose scenario for farmers.”

O Cuiv believes that the issue of fair prices for farmers must now be tackled on an EU basis.

“I welcome the commitments made to date by EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan on this matter,” he said.

“The reality is that consumers are protected by EU laws when it comes to the products they buy in retail outlets and the prices they pay. But farmers have no protection afforded to them at all in this regard.

“On the other hand, food processors and multiple retailers constitute a powerful block, which Brussels seems to have no control over when it comes to their dealings with farmers.

“The appointment of an EU supermarket ombudsman would go some way down the road when it comes to dealing with this matter.”

O Cuiv points out that Irish horticultural producers and potato growers have had first-hand experience of the supermarkets’ unfair buying-in practises.

“In theory, the Irish Government has the power to deal with this issue. However, pan-European action will be required when it comes to meeting the needs of Ireland’s dairy, beef, sheep and pig industries.

“This is why it is so important for Phil Hogan to take the appropriate action without delay.”