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"rebalance the food chain and fight against unfair commercial practices"

European farmers demand action in Brussels

Over 6000 farmers and 2000 tractors across the EU demonstrated in Brussels yesterday to underline the drastic situation hitting EU agriculture, in particular dairy, pork, fruit and vegetable and beef producers, and call on the EU for action.

Speaking in Brussels outside the EU Farm Ministers meeting, Copa President Albert Jan Maat said “We are here today to underline the unprecedented situation and demand EU action. Demonstrations have been taking place across Europe for months. There is a particularly bad situation on the EU pork, dairy, fruit and vegetable and beef markets, mainly as a result of the Russian export restrictions which shot the EU’s main export market worth 5.5 billion euros overnight. This situation is not our fault, yet it is our sector that is being hit the most. EU farmers are paying the price for international politics. Prices are below production costs in many countries and farmers incomes half the average level, forcing some out of business. Copa and Cogeca welcome as a step forward the actions taken so far by the EU Commission to help alleviate the situation but it is nowhere enough to compensate producers for their huge losses. We need EU measures to deal with the increasing volatility on agricultural markets as well as medium and longer term measures”

Cogeca President Christian Pees said “The huge power of retailers is also hitting producers hard, squeezing margins further. It is crucial to have EU measures to rebalance the food chain and to fight against unfair commercial practices. The EU Commission, Ministers, MEPs must take clear steps towards curbing the disloyal commercial practices of retailers. Copa and Cogeca favour a practical solution that combines legislation with voluntary codes backed by an enforcement that provides credibility to the system. The EU agri-food sector accounts for 40 million jobs mostly in EU rural areas and exports more than 120 billion euros every year. And with world food demand set to rise by 60% by 2050, we cannot afford to wait for a new crisis to arrive. We need an economically viable agriculture sector in all EU regions. The EU must act.”
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