Ulster Unionist MEP Jim Nicholson has repeated calls for balance in the food supply chain.
His call comes after the European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee this week hosted a joint debate with Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan, and Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager.
Mr Nicholson challenged both Commissioners to act on the recent Agri Markets Task Force report, and not to be afraid of standing up to multinationals.
Mr Nicholson said: “Competition is the life of trade, and for all businesses to succeed, there needs to be competition across the supply chain.
“However the problem comes when we have unfair competition and market failure. Producers and processors now feel that they are continually being squeezed by the big retailers despite already often running at very low margins.
“I have been very clear to the Commission that now is the time to take action to address the weaker position of farmers in the food supply chain, and the particular vulnerability of farmers to unfair trading practices.
“Indeed, the Commission’s own Agri Markets Task Force report came to similar conclusions on the need to strengthen the position of farmers.”
Mr Nicholson added: “All too often we back away from the power of the multinationals. But if the position of farmers continued to be weakened, there will ultimately be negative consequences all the way through the food supply chain.”