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NFU Takes Supermarket Battle to Brussels

8 December 2011, at 9:38am

UK - National Farmers Union (NFU) president, Peter Kendall, has called on EU policy-makers to tackle the power imbalance in supply chains to help farmers become more competitive.

In a speech to MEPs, European Commission officials and other stakeholders in the European Parliament, Mr Kendall said EU institutions should work together to improve farmers’ bargaining position.

“During times of economic hardship it is important to remember how important the agri-food sector is to the EU economy,” said Mr Kendall.

“We estimate some 40 million people – or one in six jobs in the EU – depend on agricultural production. The EU agri-food sector offers massive potential to stimulate further growth, create jobs and opportunities especially in rural areas. But it can only do so if we have fair, functioning supply chains."

“The reform of the CAP offers some opportunities to help strengthen the position of farmers in the market place. But going further, the EU needs to build on Member State initiatives such as the GSCOP in the UK and consider how abuse of dominant market positions can be dealt with at EU level. As we see the grocery market consolidate and become more transnational, EU action will be needed to uphold fair trade across the single market."

“There’s been some recognition of the need to rebalancing trading relationships through the work of the EU High Level Forum for a better functioning food supply chain. A recent document setting out the principles of good practice represents a positive important step towards improving supply chain relationships. But I believe the EU Commission will need to go further and consider the use of legislation to prevent bad practices.”