EU - The Agricultural Markets Task Force (AMTF) has presented recommendations on how to improve the positions of farmers in the food supply chain to the EU's Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan.
The Task Force was chaired by former Dutch Minister for Agriculture and University Professor, Cees Veerman and was set up due to concerns that farmers are bearing the brunt of price volatility and prolonged periods of low prices.
Accepting the report, that reflects the result of ten months work, Commissioner Hogan stated: "In view of recent difficulties in some specific sectors, we identified the need to strengthen the role of the farmer in the food chain with the objective of ensuring that he/she gets a fair return for their produce.
"The report of the Agricultural Markets Task Force is a very welcome addition to the debate on how to achieve this. We will now prioritise our consideration of the report and its recommendations with a view to delivering the appropriate policy response."
Among the other conclusions, the report calls 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.
Other recommendations include increasing market transparency, enhancing cooperation among farmers, facilitating farmers' access to finance and improving the take-up of risk management tools.
EU agricultural organisation Copa and Cogeca welcomed the report, especially the calls for new rules on Unfair Trading Practices to bring fair returns for farmers.
Copa & Cogeca Secretary-General Pekka Pesonen said: "For us, an EU framework law is vital to curb UTPs – something we have long been calling for - so that operators are sanctioned when they break EU law. An independent third party ombudsman must impose sanctions whenever there is non-compliance.”
"We also support the initiative to increase market transparency by creating market observatories in the milk, beef and pork sectors but they need to be extended to include other sectors like sheep meat, sugar, wine, cereals and potatoes,” Pesonen added.