The Irish Farmers' Association has called on Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney to intervene in a row that has flared up with Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton about legislation to protect food producers against below-cost selling.

The IFA has said Mr Bruton is only paying lip service to the real concerns of farmers and food suppliers.

There was huge controversy last winter when leading supermarkets started selling vegetables for as little as 5 cent/kg.

The IFA marched on supermarkets to highlight how this was disrupting their livelihoods.

Subsequently, Mr Bruton published the draft Competition and Consumer Protection Bill, which included measures to deal with the issue.

But after meeting the minister earlier this week, the IFA has become very disillusioned and is threatening to withdraw its support for the bill.

IFA President Eddie Downey said the bill as it stands is a waste of time and will do absolutely nothing to protect vulnerable food producers and suppliers.

He has called for Mr Coveney to get involved and "tog out" against Mr Bruton to support farmers and suppliers.