The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, has introduced the second-stage debate on the Agricultural and Food Supply Chain Bill in Dáil Éireann.
The bill provides for the establishment of a new independent statutory body, An Rialálaí Agraibhia, or the Agri-Food Regulator, which will promote fairness and transparency in the agricultural and food supply chain, according to a statement published on Gov.ie, which also noted that the Agri-Food Regulator will have powers to levy fines of as much as €10 million on buyers, including retailers, food producers and processors, who engage in unfair trading practices with farmers and other suppliers, and that the office will have powers to investigate breaches such as late payments to suppliers, the misuse of trade secrets, commercial retaliation, and unilateral contract changes.
Statement By Minister McConalogue
The statement published on Gov.ie quoted Minister McConalogue as saying, “I am delighted that the Agri-Food Supply Chain Bill has now reached this second stage of the legislative process. This bill will ensure that there is protection for farmers, fishers, growers and small businesses operating in the agri-food sector against unfair trading practices, and [it] will bring greater transparency to the supply chain by carrying out price and market analysis and reporting.
“It is my hope the enactment of this bill can be progressed without undue delay and this much-needed Agri-Food Regulator can be established. I want this office to be a strong advocate for our primary producers – the farmers, fishers and food producers of Ireland. The office will bring further transparency to all stages of the supply chain.
“In parallel with this legislation, my department is working to conclude the process for the appointment to the role of CEO for the new office, following a recent open competitive process, and an announcement on this will be made in due course. My department will also engage with state boards – part of the Public Appointments Service – to begin the process for selection of the board of the new office.”
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