NFU calls for EU regulation of supply chain practices
NFU president Peter Kendall has asked the European Commission (EC) to improve farmers’ competitiveness with supply chain legislation. He believes EU regulation could help rectify the power imbalance between supermarkets and the agricultural sector.
He said: “There has been some recognition of the need to rebalance 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.
“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 and create jobs and opportunities, especially in rural areas. But it can only do so if we have fair, functioning supply chains.
“The EU needs to build on member state initiatives, such as the Groceries Supply Code of Practice 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,” Kendall added.
The NFU has also been campaigning for the creation of the Grocery Code Adjudicator, an independent body able to fine retailers that abuse their competitive power.