The food value chain – primary, industry and distribution – lives in an unbalanced situation, in which farmers and ranchers are the most affected, with prices that are sometimes lower than production costs.
Both at the national and community level, work is being done to improve this situation, through regulatory measures that avoid unfair practices that lead to this situation.
In the Spanish case, the Government has modified the chain law to rebalance as far as possible the relationship between the different actors in the agri-food sector. It collects penalties of up to 100,000 euros (and a million if it is repeated) for selling food below what it costs to produce it. And sanctions are tightened if contracts are not closed in writing, which must include the cost of production.
These figures will be calculated from public reference indices that will take into account factors such as seeds, energy, herbicides, phytosanitary or labor. And, for example, work has already been done on the legislation on reference markets.
The next step will be to transpose the European standard “This will cover all the other technical aspects that have not been included in this first reform. All this complemented, logically, with a capacity for self-validation. This is not only a measure of the Government, the sector also has to be able to organize itself and must do a self-validation task that is very important, which cannot be done by any public administration. But from the Government we are going to modify the law of representation of agrarian organizations, the law of interprofessions, we are going to work with cooperatives to see how we can effectively achieve greater modernization and competitiveness “, the Minister of Agriculture explained to Efeagro , Fishing and Food, Luis Planas.
Farmers and ranchers have starred in dozens of demonstrations in Spain in this beginning of 2020, demanding fair prices. And also asking that administrations, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and consumers recognize and value their work, its positive impact on the territory and the quality of the food they produce.
The figures of the Spanish sector help to understand the base of the imbalance of the chain. Around 800,000 farmers and ranchers. 30,000 industries. And dozens of distribution companies.
For this reason, in addition to the regulatory interventions of Brussels and the decisions of the national and regional administrations, the challenge of competitiveness has in the agri-food sector the name of innovation and digitization, investment and sufficient aid from the CAP, financial measures , fair prices at origin, the promotion of producer organizations or the promotion of youth and women in entrepreneurship in the territory. The success of the Spanish and European agri-food model depends on it.