BRUSSELS, BELGIUM — After an exchange with E.U. member states, the European Commission will now adopt measures to introduce greater transparency through improved price reporting along the food supply chain.
After banning unfair trading practices and improving the conditions for producer cooperation, the Commission presented in May the third element to improve fairness in the food supply chain: stepping up the collection of prices of agri-food products at different stages along the supply chain to see how prices are determined.
“Increasing market transparency is about providing more information, on more products, more often,” said Phil Hogan, agriculture and rural development Commissioner. “By doing so, we will give greater balance to the chain and ensure more efficient decision-making.”
An E.U.-wide opinion poll published in February 2018 showed that a great majority of respondents (88%) considers that strengthening farmers’ role in the food supply chain is important. Previously, 96% of the respondents to the 2017 public consultation on the modernization of the CAP agreed with the proposition that improving farmers’ position in the value chain should be an objective of the E.U.’s Common Agricultural Policy.
“Increasing transparency is also about fairness: we are allowing equal access to price information, which will bring greater clarity on how the food supply chain functions,” Hogan said. “Supplemented by the recently adopted directive banning unfair trading practices, as well as to the 2017 improvements to producer organization legislation, these rules will strengthen the role of farmers in the food supply chain, a key objective for the Commission.”
The measures will be adopted by the Commission in the coming weeks and will apply from Jan. 1, 2021.
While a significant amount of information is already available regarding agricultural markets (including production and consumer prices, volumes of production and trade, etc.), there is little information available on markets that operate between farmers and consumers such as food processing or retailing. This creates an asymmetry of information between farmers and other actors of the food supply chain and can put farmers at a significant disadvantage when doing business with others.
The measures agreed on will apply to the meat, dairy, wine, cereals, oilseeds and protein crops, fruit and vegetables, olive oil and sugar sectors. The collection of data will rely on systems and procedures already in place, used by operators and member states to report market information to the Commission. Each member state will be responsible for the collection of price and market data. Representative prices will be reported in order to achieve cost-effectiveness and to limit the administrative burden.