Following a recent survey which shows that the public support this measure I have called for the Government to stand up for farmers and to ensure a fair deal from the supermarkets for farmers.
The survey found that 90% of people want to see a code of conduct established to ensure that farmers get a fair deal from supermarkets.
As a part-time farmer myself, I believe we all need to see a statutory code of conduct which would ensure that hardworking farmers and other food producers are paid a reasonable price for their produce. Below cost selling in the large supermarkets is making the problem even worse. We need this to be balanced with measures that guarantee consumers value for money when they are paying at the till. All of this could be included by the Government in the Competition and Consumer Bill, which includes proposals for a code of conduct for the retail sector to insure full transparency.
We need to protect the family farm, which is the bedrock of our communities all over Kerry. All of us know farmers that are on the verge of going out of business and the tactics used by some of the large supermarkets are making things worse, not better.
I support the call from my party colleague, Fianna Fáil’s Agriculture spokesperson Éamon Ó Cuiv about the need for a code of conduct which would protect farmers and consumers, by insuring a fair price on goods for them both. I’m concerned about the potential for exploitation by the large supermarkets and we all need to work to ensure we protect small local food producers. We need to create a level playing field for the two. For some time now, the Government has committed to creating a code of conduct to tackle these issues in the retail sector however very little has happened to improve things as far as I can see. From meeting with others farmers in Kerry, I know how important this issue is for farmers and other small food producers. Ongoing delays in bringing in a code of conduct is putting farms at risk and continues to impact negatively on the agricultural sector as a whole.