Farming News - McIntyre welcomes fair-deal measures for farmers
McIntyre welcomes fair-deal measures for farmers
Measures were unveiled last week by the European Commission to tackle unfair practices in the food supply chain are an important step forward, according to Conservative Agriculture spokesman Anthea McIntyre.
The proposed directive aims to protect farmers and suppliers from practices including the cancellation of contracts for fresh produce at short notice, late payments by retailers and by demanding more clarity in agreements.
It draws on the experience of the UK's Groceries Code Adjudicator, a position created in 2013 to re-evaluate the relationship between supermarkets and their suppliers.
Miss McIntyre told MEPs today that she warmly welcomed the Commission's proposals.
She said: "Farmers don't always get a fair price and they don't always get fair treatment. Processors and supermarkets are often those who take the lion's share of the profit when of course they wouldn't take any profit at all were it not for the raw commodity provided by the farmers.
"The UK adjudicator is a very good example of how to make progress in this area and I am pleased to hear the Commission has used it as a model. When the system was set up one of the worst practices I came across was of farmers being charged by supermarkets for replying to customers who wrote complementing the quality of a product.
"Proof of the effectiveness of the adjudicator is that the number of complaints and issues raised by farmers has reduced year on year."
Introducing the proposed directive today, Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan confirmed the UK "had been specifically looked at in drawing up this proposal."
He added: "Companies have come into line as a result of the work of the groceries adjudicator."
Mr Hogan stressed the EU measures would complement, not replace, steps already taken by Member States.