In the run up to EU Farm Ministers informal meeting in Bratislava, Copa & Cogeca called for legislation to be introduced at EU level to combat unfair trading practices in the food chain and to ensure a fair return for producers.

Copa-Cogeca Secretary-General Pekka Pesonen said “Farmers’ incomes across Europe are constantly being squeezed. The price the farmer gets often does not even cover his production costs. We need a fair, transparent and functioning food supply chain. We believe it is good for farmers, for processors and retailers – and above all for consumers. It is the only way to ensure a sustainable farming sector”.

Outlining ways to improve the situation, he said “We need contracts between producers, processors and retailers that are enforced to ensure farmers are given a fair price for their produce and are paid on time. Voluntary agreements alone do not work. We believe that unfair trading practices can only be curbed by a combination of voluntary codes backed by legislation and supported by a robust enforcement system so that operators are fined when they break EU law. An ombudsman would impose the fines when the codes of good practice are broken. Different initiatives are currently in place at national level but we need rules at EU level that can be enforced as large retailers are increasingly pan-European and regulation in one country will not prevent abuse across borders. Spain has recently introduced legislation that works well and it’s a good model for the EU to build on. The EU Commission knows there’s a problem and needs to come up with a proposal. We consequently urge Ministers next week to act and call for statutory legislation to be introduced to ensure a #fairfoodchain”.

“We warmly welcome the Slovak Presidency initiative to focus the informal agricultural council on September 12/13 on strengthening farmers positioning in the food chain and combating unfair trading practices (UTPs) with the aim of adopting EU Council conclusions on this in December”, Pesonen added.

For more information:
Copa Cogeca