In a series of recommendations adopted on 4 July concerning the proposal for a directive on unfair trading practices in business-to-business relations in the food supply chain, the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) argues that the European Union must do more to safeguard farmers' incomes. The recommendations will cushion against the negative impact of the high volatility of agricultural product prices, in order to keep up agriculture throughout the EU and preserve vibrant rural communities.
The CoR opinion, drawn up by Jacques Blanc (FR/PPE), Mayor of La Canourgue, and adopted by a large majority at the CoR plenary session, recommends in particular that the directive's scope be broadened and the list of prohibited unfair practices be extended to all actors in the food chain. It also proposes including a prohibition in principle of unfair trading practices to respond to possible future abusive practices.
While the European Committee of the Regions welcomes the initiative by the European Commission to introduce European legislation designed to combat unfair trading practices, which it previously called for in its opinion on regulating price volatility, it nevertheless believes that this directive will not be enough to improve the situation of farmers unless the overall framework in which they operate is changed.
Given this state of affairs, rapporteur-general Jacques Blanc points out that "it will also be necessary to make contractualisation attractive for producers, to introduce additional measures on price transparency, tackle over-concentration of the distribution, agri-food and agri-supply sectors, and develop fairer international trade relations in agriculture".
Farmers' incomes are today 40% lower than the average salary. The value of an agricultural product is currently shared out as follows: the farmer receives an average of 21%, the processor 28% and the distributor 51%. Local leaders are convinced that action is needed to reverse this trend and increase the value to agriculture of household food expenditure, as recommended in the CoR opinion on the post-2020 CAP.
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