Speaking in Brussels at an event organised by EuroCommerce in the European Parliament, IFA President Joe Healy said unfair trading practices (UTPs) by retailers cost farmers and agri co-ops across Europe nearly €11bn each year.
Joe Healy was addressing the event in his capacity as Chairman of the COPA-COGECA Food Chain Working Party. Picking up on the theme of the event, ‘Retailers & Farmers – partners in the Food Chain’, the IFA President said, “As a farmer and a farmer representative, I cannot say that farmers and retailers are partners. Being partners suggests that we are on an equal footing and have clear transparency on price and conditions across the food supply chain. This is not the case”.
The independent report commissioned by COPA also shows that 94% of farmers and 95% of agri co-ops have been exposed at least once to UTPs. Examples include late payments, below-cost selling, pay-to-play money and payment for shelf space.
Joe Healy said the prices and margins received by farmers across the EU are published in detail. By contrast, there has been very little transparency on margins of larger businesses in the food supply chain, resulting in an imbalance of information and bargaining power between the different groups.
Mr Healy said the Agri-Markets Task Force recognises the need for independent enforcement of retail regulation. He said farmers would continue to support the Commission’s High Level Forum, but it must deliver for farmers. “We need to see EU-wide legislative approach, including proper enforcement mechanisms, to curb unfair trading practices.”
Joe Healy said market and price transparency are critical to achieving a fair and equitable food chain. “We need to know who gets what from each consumer euro.”