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Food prices should be more transparent, says EC


The European Commission aims to obtain more transparency on prices throughout the food chain, from the farm to the supermarket, Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan told AFP.
The Commission will soon publish new rules on pricing transparency, Hogan said.

After banning unfair trading prices and improving cooperation between producers, it hopes this third element will help to enhance the position of farmers in the food chain and improve equity in the supply chain.

The Commission feels the entire price transmission table throughout the food chain is not transparent.

Hogan said there had been many questions from farmers as to why a bigger chunk of the returns from food sales went to distributors and processors, which led the Commission to organise a debate on the issue and introduce new guidelines which, it thinks, will ease some of the concerns.

The details of the proposal are expected in the next few days. It will provide an opportunity to highlight the price differences at each stage of the transformation of a farm product while taking factors such as transport, insurance and storage costs into consideration.

In December, the European Parliament and Council agreed to ban 16 trade practices judged “unfair” because they had been imposed unilaterally by one trading partner on the other. These include late payments, last-minute cancellations of orders for perishable goods, unilateral or retroactive modifications of contracts, obliging suppliers to reimburse unsold goods and refusing to provide written contracts.

One year before that, the first stage in the plan to give back to farmers their negotiating power within the food-supply chain had consisted of strengthening the rights of producers’ organisations.

The Brussels Times