Promoting Farmers, Co-ops in the Food Chain28 May 2012
EU - Copa-Cogeca welcomed a new report by the European Competition Network on the analysis of their activities on the food sector, which highlights the need to strengthen farmers and agri-cooperatives positioning in the food chain.
Speaking in Brussels, Copa-Cogeca Secretary-General Pekka Pesonen said “In particular, we welcome the fact that the European authorities recognise that the fragmented and small dimension of farms impacts negatively on the development and growth of the agri-food sector as well as on the overall functioning and competitiveness of the food sector.”
He continued: “We also welcome the European competition authorities’ recommendation to restructure and consolidate the agricultural sector. This could be achieved by the creation of cooperatives and other forms of cooperation amongst producers. This would enable farmers to become more competitive and would strengthen their bargaining position in the food chain, which is crucial given that they are up against the huge buying power of a handful of retailers.”
Competition rules can be seen as a tool which stimulate competiveness and innovation along the food chain. Competition authorities should look at these issues in a long term perspective rather than only from a pure pricing perspective since the diversity and quality of agri-food products are becoming increasingly important to consumers.
Mr Pesonen went on to say: “It is also positive that some Competition authorities see legislation which seeks to put an end to unfair commercial practices in the food chain as a possible way to address this problem. We believe that an EU Directive would prove valuable in this respect. The report also considers codes of good practices in the food chain, with effective enforcement mechanisms, as a workable solution which we welcome.”