Ulster Unionist MEP Jim Nicholson has renewed a call for unfair trading practices in the food supply chain to be tackled at all levels.
Mr Nicholson made the comments after a seminar in the European Parliament yesterday (Wednesday) which focused on the issue.
“I have often said that tackling the imbalance of power between primary producers and the rest of the food supply chain has long been the elephant in the room,” Mr Nicholson said.
“Processors, retailers and the consumer all rely on farmers and growers who are the vital first link in the food supply chain.
“The UK Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA), which was established to oversee the relationship between supermarkets and their suppliers, is I believe a good template for the other national governments of Europe to replicate.
“I do, however, think that the office needs to be given more teeth to ensure suppliers are treated fairly.
“When the UK ultimately leaves the EU we will still have a very close trading relationship with the rest of Europe.
“Therefore, it is vital that farmers in Northern Ireland will enjoy the same protections when trading with the remaining 27 EU Member States as they enjoy in the United Kingdom.”