Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue will seek Cabinet approval this week to move forward with a bill which will establish a food ombudsman office.
The Agricultural and Food Supply Chain Bill 2022 will 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 fairness and transparency in the agricultural and food supply chain.
The office will perform a price/market analysis and also have a reporting function. This is to meet the requirement of the European Commission to strengthen agricultural and food market transparency. It will do this 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 also become the State’s designated enforcement authority for the rules on unfair trading practices in business-to-business relationships in the agricultural and food supply chain.
The office, which is expected to pass through the Oireachtas before the summer, will be led by a board and will have a chief executive officer.
It will operate independently but under the aegis of the Department of Agriculture, similar to bodies such as Bord Bia.
Minister McConalogue has previously said he wants the office to be one “with real teeth” and one that “shines a light of transparency on parts of the supply chain to improve the bargaining hand of farmers”.