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Parliament calls for EU action to help farmers fight unfair trading practices

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MEPs urge the EU Commission to put forward proposals against unfair trading practices in the food supply chain, so as to ensure fair earnings for farmers and a wide choice for consumers, in a resolution voted on Tuesday the 7th of June, according to the official site of the European Parliament.The aim should be to ensure fair and transparent trade relations among food producers, suppliers and distributors.

Farmers and small and medium businesses are particularly vulnerable to unfair trading practices (UTPs). They are sometimes forced to sell at a loss when price negotiations with a stronger party put them at a disadvantage, e.g. by making them bear the cost of supermarket markdowns and reductions.

Income and power imbalances in the food supply chain must be tackled as a matter of urgency in order to improve farmers’ bargaining power, says the resolution, which was approved by 600 votes to 48, with 24 abstentions. MEPs stress that selling below the cost of production, and the serious misuse of basic agricultural foods such as dairy, fruit and vegetables as “loss leaders” by large-scale retailers, threaten the long-term sustainability of EU production of these items.

Parliament believes that the Supply Chain Initiative and other national and EU voluntary systems should be promoted "as an addition to effective and robust enforcement mechanisms at member state level, ensuring that complaints can be lodged anonymously and establishing dissuasive penalties, together with EU-level coordination". MEPs encourage producers and traders, including farmers' organizations, to get involved in such initiatives.





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