The Welsh Assembly is to co-ordinate a series of meetings between farming union leaders and top supermarket managers.

The talks will be chaired by Glyn Davies AM, the Powys farmer who chairs the Assembly’s rural affairs committee.

The presidents of both unions plan to attend as many of the sessions as possible and the first, with Tesco bosses, was scheduled to take place in Cardiff on Wednesday, 9 Feb.

“Producers should receive a fair return for the work they put in, and it is important that they have a good working relationship with the big retailers who are their major customers,” Mr Davies said before the meeting.

“Both producers and retailers operate in competitive markets, and both have to face up to ongoing challenges.

I hope that by bringing farming leaders and supermarkets together for discussions greater understanding can be fostered.”

The Farmers Union of Wales first called for talks following the union’s protest about the sale of Brazilian beef at Tesco’s Carmarthen store.

Gareth Vaughan, FUW president, said that his members did not believe that producers and other suppliers were given a fair deal by major supermarkets.

“The FUW has consistently called for legislation to replace the voluntary code of conduct which regulates the way large retail chains may have an impact on producers.”