The rise in input costs, decreasing global commodity prices, as well as the volatility of the several export markets have affected the revenues of many agricultural holdings in the EU. These trends have been exacerbated by the lack of bargaining powers of the small farmers to strike good trade deals with the more powerful retailers.
To strengthen the position of the farmers in the food supply chain, the Directorate General for Agriculture (DG AGRI) of the European Commission has set up the Agricultural Market Task Force. On 14 November 2016, the Task Force published a report with a set of recommendations addressing the issue of UTPs and strengthening the position of the farmers in the food supply chain. Among others, the recommendations include information sharing to decrease the asymmetry between up- and downstream market players, and the proposal for establishing a legislative framework for investigating the UTPs at the Member States’ level.
In the meantime, the European Commission has decided to take these recommendations further by opening them for the discussion with the interested stakeholders in the public consultation process. The public consultation will last until 15 November 2017. Its outcomes are expected to feed the ongoing discussions on the future of the EU’s Common Agriculture Policy. But there is also a possibility that he governance of the food supply chain and the UTPs will be addressed in a separate legislative proposal. More details about this will be known in the first half of 2018.