Walsh urges protection for farmers in price war

Published 15/04/2014 | 05:38

Senator Jim Walsh.
Senator Jim Walsh.

SENATOR Jim Walsh is calling on the government to bring forward a code of conduct to protect fruit and veg farmers in Wexford from below cost selling.

'Many producers were on the verge of going out of business before Christmas as large supermarkets sold off fruit and veg at below cost prices. Farmers were already finding it difficult to secure a reasonable price for their produce, without having to deal with a retail price war. It's time the Government took decisive action to ensure fair prices for farmers,' said Senator Walsh.

He said Minister Bruton published the much delayed Competition Bill last week, three years after plans were first announced.

'I would urge him to accelerate the establishment of a code of conduct for retailers, which will regulate prices, thereby ensuring a fair price for growers and consumers.

There seems to be no sense of urgency to deal with an issue that is impacting on small family growers across the South East region.

'Many producers are already under pressure financially without having their prices slashed by large multiples. The Government has stood back and done nothing while these growers fight for their survival. Three years have passed since the Bill was first approved and it's unacceptable to expect producers to wait much longer to see it enacted.

'The delay in bringing it forward is putting jobs at risk. At the very least, the Minister should fast track the section of the Bill which relates to price regulation,' he said.

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