The European Commission (EC) has proposed new measures to promote greater transparency in the way prices are reported in the food supply chain.
According to the EC, the measures will make crucial information available on how prices are determined. It said that greater transparency can support better business decisions and improve trust in fair dealing between the stages in the food supply chain.
The proposal will cover the meat, eggs, dairy, fruit and vegetables, arable crops, sugar, and olive oil sectors.
While there is a large amount of information available about developments in agricultural markets – such as prices, volumes of production and stocks – there is “almost no market information about other key markets in the agri-food supply chain, namely those that operate between farmers and consumers at the food processing and the retail level”, the EC said.
It added that this asymmetry of information between farmers and the other actors in the food supply chain puts farmers at a “significant disadvantage” in the market.
Agriculture and rural development commissioner Phil Hogan said: “Strengthening the position of farmers in the food supply chain has been a priority for the Commission. Enhancing market transparency will allow equal access to and greater clarity about price information, making our food chain fairer and better balanced.
“These new rules will complement the recently adopted directive banning unfair trading practices in empowering weaker and smaller actors of the food supply chain and their introduction reflects the very significant public support that there is throughout the EU to strengthen the role of farmer in the food supply chain.”
An EU-wide opinion poll published in February 2018 showed that a majority of respondents (88%) consider that strengthening farmers’ role in the food supply chain is important. Confirming this trend, 96% of the respondents to the 2017 public consultation on the modernisation of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) agreed with the proposition that improving farmers’ position in the value chain should be an objective of the CAP.
Under the new proposals, EU member states would be responsible for the collection of price and market data. The EC recommends that member states choose the most cost-effective approach and do not target small- and medium-sized enterprises to reduce the administrative burden.
The proposal is now published for a four-week public consultation period. It will then be adopted by the EC and is planned to enter into force six months after its adoption.
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