-53% of North County is utilised farm land for produce -
Local Fianna Fáil TD and Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Darragh O’Brien has welcomed his party’s proposal to establish a National Food Ombudsman. Deputy O’Brien has pointed out that such a body is needed to help ensure primary food producers and growers receive a fair price for their produce.
“Fianna Fáil has consistently fought for fair prices and a reasonable return for primary food producers. The ‘National Ombudsman Bill’ brought forward by my party will help achieve this. The new ombudsman will bring equity and transparency for primary food producers,” said the Fingal based TD.
“The new National Food Ombudsman will mediate, investigate and adjudicate disputes within the food industry. This office would form part of the national Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC)
“We need oversight of the relationships between retailers, wholesalers and their suppliers, including the primary producer to ensure a more transparent and equitable food supply chain.
“Fingal’s horticulture sector contributes over €300million to our national farm output. Our county’s 600 farmers produce 15% of national potatoes, 47% of vegetable and over 35% of protected fruits, veg and nursery plants. We need to protect these farmers, who are the lifeblood of our local economy but are being subjected to unfair trading practices by large retailers and wholesalers," added Deputy O’Brien.
“Anyone who feels unfairly treated would have direct access to an independent Food Ombudsman who would be responsible for investigating complaints and resolving disputes.
“This bill is vitally important particularly in light of last month’s failure by EU agriculture ministers to agree a common definition of unfair trading practices. Farmers, producers and growers are being let down at a time of incredible market volatility.
“More must be done to protect and support primary producers across the North County. This Bill is part one of a suite of measures that I, and my colleagues in Fianna Fáil, will put forward over the next number of months to support, and protect farmers and growers,” concluded Deputy O’Brien