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Strong support from consumers for legislation to ensure farmers receive a fair price from supermarkets – Agri Aware survey reveals

Independent consumer research recently carried out on behalf of Agri Aware by Ipsos MRBI reveals strong support among the Irish public for legislation to ensure that farmers receive a fair price from supermarkets.

Almost 90% of people who responded to the Agri Aware survey said they think legislation should be introduced to ensure that farmers receive a fair price from supermarkets for their food that is sold there.

The survey also found that 95% agreed that Irish farmers play an important role in the Irish economy; while 89% of respondents believe Irish farmers provide quality, safe, traceable food at an affordable price for Irish consumers.

Furthermore, 87% of those surveyed believe the standards of food production in the EU are considered to be higher than in the rest of the world; while 75% of respondents believe there is a positive relationship between sustainability and agriculture.

Agri Aware's Chairman, Richard Moeran said “It is clear from this survey how the Irish public are very much behind the introduction of legislation to ensure that retailers pay a fair price to farmers for the quality food that they produce. This Agri Aware survey clearly demonstrates that the Irish public expect retailers to treat farm families fairly. Retailers must realise and take on board what the consumer wants. The below cost selling of food will leave both consumers and the primary producer as the long term losers. Furthermore, as the world population increases each day, with a projected 9 billion people to feed by 2050, Irish farmers are and will continue to play a pivotal role in feeding the growing world population. A secure and safe food supply for both Irish and European citizens is imperative, especially considering the current international issues that impact on trade, leading to volatility in international markets.”

Executive Director of Agri Aware, Deirdre O’Shea, said: “Agri Aware is the independent Irish agri-food educational body, with a mission statement to improve the image and understanding of farming and the agri-food industry among the general public. The results of this independent survey clearly demonstrate the public’s perception of the Irish agri-food industry as being hugely positive and they are very much in touch with the importance of Irish farmers and the agri-food industry to our country. Some 87% of the Irish public believe that standards of food production in the EU are higher than in the rest of the world. This is a significant result as Agri Aware has worked with the European Commission over several years, in communicating the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) to consumers from towns, cities and the countryside. Furthermore, the majority of respondents believe that Irish farmers provide safe, quality and traceable food and they play a pivotal role in our economy.”

Reacting to the Agri Aware survey, IFA President Joe Healy welcomed the strong endorsement of the Association’s view that stronger retail regulation is needed. He said, “Consumers clearly understand that giveaway prices make a mockery of quality food and threaten the viability of producers in this country. The IFA has campaigned for a long time for legislation to restore equity in the food supply chain, bring more transparency to the market, and curb the dominance of the retail multiples. Farmers need to see a greater margin from the market in their pockets; it is critical that the recommendations of Commissioner Hogan’s Agricultural Markets Task Force report are introduced without delay and actively enforced to rebalance power in favour of farmers.”