Politics: Farmers 'Must Get More of Profits'
THERE should be greater transparency in the distribution of profits in food production to ensure that farmers are getting their rightful share, the Assembly's Agriculture Committee argued yesterday.
A committee report on retailing in Northern Ireland claimed farmers were not receiving a decent share of profits generated by their produce.
The report called for:
annual monitoring by the Department of Agriculture to ensure that there is sufficient information about the turnover, purchases and sales of local produce for the general public;
more information to be supplied by retailers and their suppliers about costs and profits to help increase the overall understanding of pricing within the food chain and to build trust between producers and retailers' suppliers;
all retailers to review the availability and quality of produce from Northern Ireland with a view to encouraging local supplies, and include a review of the procurement for the organic, pigmeat and frozen food markets;
retailers who demand high welfare standards for local produce to refrain from importing lower quality produce from abroad and provide consumers with clear information about the goods they sell to help them make informed comparisons, judgments and choices;
the Department of Agriculture to establish a scheme offering incentives and initiatives to encourage farmers to form co-operatives to help them deal effectively with the supply and retail sides of the food chain, such groups to receive advice from the supplier and retail sectors in terms of training, marketing advice and consumer research, with Treasury funds to be provided in support of the co-ops. …