The Irish Farmers' Association has submitted proposals to Tánaiste Mary Coughlan and Minister for Agriculture Brendan Smith for a supermarket code of practice and a supermarket Ombudsman.

IFA President Padraig Walshe said it is now widely accepted in the Irish food sector that there is a major lack of retail regulation.

Mr Walshe said the Government needs to introduce legislation to deal with the negative impact of retailers' buying power over food processors, suppliers and primary producers.

He said retail concentration in Ireland is extremely high, with just three retailers - Tesco Ireland, Dunnes Stores and Musgraves - controlling 70% of the grocery market.

Mr Walshe said the Supermarket Code of Practice seeks to outlaw unsustainable practices, particularly below-cost selling and non-contractual demands, that arise in a grocery market with high levels of retail concentration.

The IFA President said the office of the Ombudsman must have legal powers to demand information from retailers as part of their investigations.

It must also provide anonymity and confidentiality to producers and suppliers who make complaints to initiate investigations.