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Fresh Produce

IFA Says Government Has Failed Fresh Produce Sector

The Irish Farmer’s Association (IFA) has hit out at the Government, saying it has failed the fresh produce sector by not adequately regulating retailers and not banning below-cost selling of fruits and vegetables.

The comments came at a meeting between IFA Horticulture chairperson Gerry Reilly and Minister for Horticulture Tom Hayes, where Reilly called retailer practices “the main threat to the sustainability of Irish horticulture”.

While the IFA acknowledges that the Competition and Consumer Protection Act does contribute to addressing issues within the food supply chain, it fails to prohibit below-cost selling.

“This imbalance of power in the food supply chain has resulted in a situation where farmers are sometimes compelled to accept unreasonable conditions and prices that do not cover their costs or provide an economic return,” Reilly explained.

“Fresh produce growers cannot continue in an environment where their produce is constantly being used by retailers as ‘loss leaders’ and being offered to consumers for way below the cost of production.”

The IFA has also called on Minister Hayes to take on board the priority actions for horticulture in Food Wise 2025, by creating a statutory funding mechanism to support promotional campaigns aimed at getting consumers to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables.

In addition, the IFA put forward proposals to the Minister to make the case for changes in excise duty and licensing for craft ciders produced at a micro-scale in Ireland, the development of Fruit and Vegetable Producer Organisations, and the redevelopment of the potato seed industry in Ireland.

© 2015 - Checkout Magazine by Jenny Whelan.

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