Towards a fairer food supply chain: European Commission asks for input

The European Commission is launching today an EU-wide public consultation on how to make the EU food supply chain fairer.

Farmers, citizens and other interested parties are invited to share their views on the functioning of the food supply chain through an online consultation that runs until 17 November.

There are indications that the added value in the food supply chain is not adequately distributed across all levels of the chain due, for instance, to differences in bargaining power between smaller and thus more vulnerable operators including farmers and small businesses, and their economically stronger and highly concentrated commercial partners.

Agriculture and rural development Commissioner Phil Hogan said: “Farmers are the first link in the chain and without them, there would not be food to process, sell and consume. However, we notice that they often remain the weakest link. It is to address the shortcomings in the food supply chain that we are leading the way to act, in accordance with the Commission’s longstanding position to stand by European farmers. I encourage all EU citizens, farmers, stakeholders to share their views with us through this online consultation.”

The European Commission is interested in gathering input to assess the necessity and expedience of possible measures to be taken at the EU level to address or regulate unfair trading practices with respect to agri-food products.

The Commission is also keen to assess the level of market transparency across the chain and where it can be improved. Considering the need for some degree of competition, the consultation will help judging whether the introduction of supplementary EU market transparency arrangements is necessary.

Finally, the questionnaire scans the level of interest in producer cooperation and the use of so-called value sharing agreements (namely the sharing of market bonuses and losses resulting from evolutions of the relevant market prices), which are already in use in some sectors such as sugar.

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About The Author

John Swire - Deputy editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer as well as responsibility for the Agronomist and Arable Farmer and Farm Business websites. After 17 years milking cows on the family farm John started writing about agriculture in 1998 and has since written for a variety of publications and has developed a wide circle of contacts within the industry. When not working John is a season ticket holder at Stoke City and also of late has become a fitness freak, listing cycling, swimming and walking as his exercises of choice.