EU ready to tackle food chain power im­bal­ances: Ho­gan

Irish Independent - Farming - - FINANCE -

BRUS­SELS is mov­ing to leg­is­late to ad­dress the power im­bal­ance that ex­ists in Europe’s food chain, EU Agri­cul­ture Com­mis­sioner, Phil Ho­gan has told a con­fer­ence in Dublin.

Com­mis­sioner Ho­gan ( in­set) said that in­creased glob­al­i­sa­tion and a high level of con­cen­tra­tion within Europe’s re­tail sec­tor meant that su­per­mar­kets now en­joyed what he de­scribed as “su­per-power”.

“The im­bal­ance of bar­gain­ing power be­tween price set­ters and price tak­ers is stark, lead­ing to a sit­u­a­tion where there is a real fear fac­tor for farm­ers,” he said.

Com­mis­sioner Ho­gan said the EU was in the process of draft­ing leg­is­la­tion to im­ple­ment the rec­om­men­da­tions of the Agri­cul­tural Mar­kets Task Force.

The task force’s re­port from 2016 called for new rules at EU level to cover cer­tain un­fair trad­ing prac­tices (UTPs), as well as the im­ple­men­ta­tion of ef­fec­tive en­force­ment regimes in mem­ber states such as through the use of an ad­ju­di­ca­tor. Speak­ing at a Food Safety Author­ity of Ire­land con­fer­ence on food fraud last week, Com­mis­sioner Ho­gan claimed that re­cent EU stud­ies had shown that the only op­po­si­tion to the task forces pro­posed mea­sures came from the re­tail sec­tor. Wel­com­ing Com­mis­sioner Ho­gan’s re­cent speech, the ICMSA pres­i­dent John Comer said it rep­re­sented another wel­come step to­wards a lon­gover­due re-bal­anc­ing of power and mar­gins in the EU’s food­sup­ply chain. Mr Comer ex­pressed his un­qual­i­fied sup­port for any moves by the Com­mis­sion to curb what he de­scribed as the “abu­sive dom­i­nance” of the re­tail sec­tor.

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