Minister McConalogue welcomes Cabinet approval for Bill to establish a new Office for Fairness and Transparency in the Agri Food Supply chain

Minister McConalogue welcomes Cabinet approval for Bill to establish a new Office for Fairness and Transparency in the Agri Food Supply chain

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue T.D., today announced that the Cabinet has approved a General Scheme of the Agricultural and Food Supply Chain Bill 2022.

This Bill, when enacted, will establish a new independent statutory Authority which will be known as the “Office for Fairness and Transparency in the Agri-Food Supply Chain.”

Minister McConalogue said:

“I am acutely aware of the importance of ensuring that there is fairness in the agricultural and food supply chain for farmers, fishers and other food suppliers. A viable and resilient agri-food sector, in particular for primary producers, is a key priority for me as Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine and for the Government. Events of recent weeks reminded us all of the fragility of the agri-food supply chain, and it is now more important than ever to ensure that there is an independent voice to promote and indeed enforce, the principles of fairness and transparency in that chain.

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“This new Office will bring greater transparency all along the agricultural and food supply chain. It will do this by performing a price and market analysis and reporting function – publishing reports on price and market information on all sectors in the agri-food supply chain. It will engage with retailers, processors, wholesalers, farmers, fishers, and others on matters effecting fairness and transparency in the agri-food supply chain. The Office will also, as the State’s designated Unfair Trading Practices Enforcement Authority, be responsible for ensuring that buyers in the agri-food supply chain do not implement unfair practices in their business-to-business relationships with suppliers.”

Minister McConalogue added:

“The new Office will be an advocate for farmers and fishers and other small food businesses in the agricultural and food supply chain to help them improve their position and to bring greater transparency and fairness all along the supply chain.

I acknowledge the support shown by my Cabinet colleagues for the General Scheme of this Bill.  This is an important step in fulfilling the Programme for Government commitment to bring greater fairness, equity and transparency to the agricultural and food supply chain and I am very pleased that I now have the opportunity to be able to deliver the means to help achieve that goal.”

The General scheme of the Bill will when enacted, establish a new independent statutory Authority to be known as the “Office for Fairness and Transparency in the Agri-Food Supply Chain”.

The objective of the new Office will be to promote the principles of fairness and transparency in the agricultural and food supply chain, and it will principally do this in two ways:

  • by performing a price / market analysis and reporting function. The European Commission has called on Member States to enhance agricultural and food market transparency at Union level, including by improving the collection of statistical data necessary for the analysis of price formation mechanisms along the agricultural and food supply chain. The new Office will endeavour to bring greater transparency to the agricultural and food supply chain by carrying out market analysis on publicly available agricultural and food supply chain data and by producing reports that will be made available to stakeholders and the wider public.
  • the new Office will be responsible for ensuring that fairness is observed in the agricultural and food supply chain by becoming the State’s designated enforcement authority for enforcing the rules on unfair trading practices in business-to-business relationships in the agricultural and food supply chain.

The Bill provides for the Minister to introduce charges for complaints and a levy on industry.

The Bill does not deal with business to consumer relationships: it deals with business to business relationships in the agricultural and food supply chain.

The Bill provides that the new Office will be led by a Board and will have a Chief Executive Officer.

With regard to the Unfair Trading Practices Directive, currently enforced by the interim UTP Enforcement Authority in the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine,  Minister McConalogue’s intention is to repeal the current UTP and to use the enabling provisions in the Bill to provide for the transfer of responsibility for UTP enforcement functions from his Department to the remit of the new Office. This is expected to occur at the time of commencement of the Act.

The General Scheme of the Bill is published on the Department’s website at www.gov.ie/en/publication/bd7d3-general-scheme-of-the-agricultural-and-food-supply-chain-bill-2022/

Source: Press Release

Brian J McMullin Solicitors
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Minister welcomes Cabinet approval for Bill to establish a new Office for Fairness and Transparency in the Agri Food Supply chain

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