Growers often have no idea if they are able to collaborate. In order to prevent this, the EU competition rules must become plain and simple. This is what former Dutch politician and industry heavy weight Cees Veerman observed after his EU survey on agricultural and horticultural markets. "Only with clear, workable rules, growers "will have the opportunity to collaborate.” At present, producers act often as a shock absorber as regard to low prices and price fluctuations.

Since January, Veerman has conducted research with a special task force. They looked into the position of growers in the chain, among other aspects. Last Monday the report was presented.

Veerman recommends increasing transparency along the chain and encouraging competition. "Larger parties with more overview in the chain often have a good image of the market, whereas smaller growers often do not have this overview. This creates mistrust about the price and the added value through the chain.” With compulsory price transparency and an arbitration system, Veerman wants to solve this kind of unfair business practices.

And finally, there is the CAP. The CAP has a greater market orientation than before, Veerman observes and anticipates more on the global market. A global market offers opportunities, but also restrictions and the concern is that growers - not united and less supported through measures at earlier stages from the government to keep prices at an acceptable level - become a kind of shock absorber for the sector when it considers price fluctuations or longer periods of low prices.

Veerman sees that little is done against unfair marketing practices. He argues for more transparency and a better availability of financing possibilities for growers, in which the European Investment Bank could play a role. He also sees opportunities for crisis cartels, which can also be useful for independent growers who are not a member of producer organizations.

Read the entire report here.