IFA President Joe Healy has attended his first in Brussels of the EU High-Level Forum for a Better Functioning Food Supply Chain.
Mr Healy is representing Irish and European farmers as the COPA representative on the Forum. He joins other EU non-governmental associations and federations representing agriculture production, food processing, trade, retail and distribution. The IFA President, as Chairman of the COPA and COGECA Group on the Food Supply Chain, has led the campaign on behalf of European farmers on retail dominance and Unfair Trading Practices (UTPs). “Across member states, there is recurring evidence of large retailers dominating the market with excessive buying power. They then dictate price levels back to farmers, driving prices to un-economic levels, sometimes below the cost of production,” said Mr Healy. Referring to the draft EU Directive on UTPs in the food supply chain, which is currently at trilogue stage between the EU Commission, Parliament and Council, Joe Healy acknowledged the work Phil Hogan, EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development is doing in this area. “IFA has campaigned for many years, nationally and in Europe, for a re-balancing of power in the food supply chain, to deliver a viable price for farmers, and a return on their work and investment.” The IFA President said: “It is clear that farmers are not getting a fair share of the retail price. Many retailers are behaving like modern-day dictatorships, abusing their power to accumulate vast profits. The current situation, where processors and retailers make a margin, with farmers forced to produce at or below the cost of production, is unacceptable”. Mr Healy added that the high-level forum must work to deliver a fairer food supply chain for all, including producers. Market transparency and price reporting by member states, as recommended in the Agricultural Markets Task Force Report in 2016 must also be a priority.