The fear factor, acknowledged by EU Agriculture commissioner Phil Hogan as a primary reason for the existence of unfair trading practices in the food supply chain, will not be fully removed by the current proposals from the EU Commission.
This was the reaction of Independent MEP Marian Harkin to the announcement of an EU directive designed to prevent unfair trade practices operated by major food retailers. “Major food retailers pose a threat to the continuation of family farming in Ireland and throughout the EU, due to unacceptable trade practices, the costs of which ultimately are borne by the primary food producer – the farmer, particularly the smaller farmer”, she said.
While welcoming the measures proposed by the European Commission to tackle the myriad of unfair practices engaged in by major retailers, she warned that the most pernicious ‘hello money’ factor was not unambiguously dealt with. “This is the most fear inspiring factor, and most difficult to deal with”, Marian Harkin said, “but it needs to be effectively tackled by strategies which protect the interest of those divulging information”.
The opening of the beef market in China would, hopefully, reduce dependence on major retailers one of which reported record profits in the past week, the Independent MEP said. She pointed out that the same retail group had said that they were looking forward to reducing costs through much improved supplier relationships.
“These improved supplier relationships must not mean further pressure on supplying processors which would inevitably mean reduced farm gate prices to farmers and ongoing threat to their viability”, Marian Harkin concluded.