Farmers’ incomes are falling while food prices are rising and more and more food is being bought and then thrown away. On 19 January, MEPs looked at food from two different angles: on one hand they propose helping farmers earn a decent income and preventing them from being squeezed between high raw material prices and low farm gate prices and on the other called for a stop to the enormous food wastage in the EU.
Raw material costs for EU farmers climbed an average of almost 40% between 2000 and 2010, while farm gate prices increased on average by less than 25%. Farmers are being “squeezed” between low farm gate prices due to the strong position of processors and retailers, and high raw material prices due to an increased concentration among producers of things like fertilizer, fuel and farm machinery.
Improving negotiating power
MEPs suggest that farmers should get together to improve their bargaining power and call on competition authorities to tackle abuses by dominant agribusiness traders, retailers and raw material producers.
They also want the European Commission to evaluate what impact EU legislation on food safety and environmental protection, which can increase the cost of food production, is having on the sustainability and competitiveness of European agriculture.
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