In addition to 12 million farmers, 40 million people are employed throughout the food supply chain in the European Union. The Common Agricultural Policy is key in ensuring that farmers receive a steady, fair income, but imbalances in the food supply chain risk undermining farmers as well as consumers.
Operators, especially farmers and SMEs, face difficulties such as unfair trading practices (UTPs) in the food supply chain due to issues including the higher bargaining power of other players operating in the market. On the other hand, the food supply chain needs to ensure that goods are available to consumers at an affordable price.
In 2015, 15% of farmers sold half of their products through such short food supply chains, according to a study carried out by the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS). In addition, a 2016 Eurobarometer survey noted that four out of five European citizens consider that ‘strengthening the farmer’s role in the food chain’ is either fairly or very important.
The Commission proposed measures in April 2018 tackling the vulnerability of weaker operators and granting them a minimum level of protection. But the reduction of the EU funds for the post-2020 CAP highlights the role the member states need to play to further boost this rising trend.
EURACTIV organised this workshop to discuss how to develop a fair food supply chain that suits all actors involved.
- What will be the impact of the measures proposed by the Commission in fighting UTPs? What role for the CAP?
- What measures are retailers already implementing to ensure a fair food supply chain? What improvements for the future?
- What are other solutions to the imbalance of power in the food supply chain?
- How are consumers affected by the imbalances in the food supply chain? How can they play a role in improving it?
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