Boyle demands EU pressure to curb influence of supermarkets
PRESSURE needs to be put on the Competitions Authority and the EU Competitions Directorate to curb supermarket power in the agri-food sector, Professor Gerry Boyle told the Claremorris meeting.
The Teagasc director said the Competition Authority's emphasis so far had been exclusively on the actions of sellers rather than buyers. He said a change of policy was now required.
"There has been no Competition Authority action on buyers. All of their interest has been focused on the potential abuse of power by sellers," Prof Boyle stated.
The dominant position that retailers enjoy as price setters in the food industry needed to be highlighted and challenged, he added.
Prof Boyle said a parallel strategy of lobbying both the Competition Authority and the EU Competitions Directorate on this issue should now be adopted by both the food industry and farm organisations.
Jim Power, chief economist with Friends First, described the 'Tescoisation' of the Irish retail sector as the single biggest threat facing farmers.
Mr Power described as naive a suggestion from IFA president John Bryan that he will be able to deal with the supermarkets and secure better returns for farmers through discussions.
But this assessment was rejected by Mr Bryan. Most commentators questioned the IFA's strategy when the Brazilian beef campaign kicked off, he recalled.