Fairness in the food supply chain must be addressed alongside other priorities related to the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), according to farmers’ union representatives.
A spokeswoman for the European Federation of Food Agriculture and Tourism Trade Union (EFFAT) told FoodNavigator it was concerned about “the trickle down effect on the last people in the chain”, the farmers.
“We would like FoodDrinkEurope to provide input, as it is involved in discussions on the better functioning of the food supply chain and the development of guidelines that would create a platform among all the actors in the chain.
“When a product is strained by a rush to the bottom end in terms of price, there is cost cutting. The price to the consumer is expected to be extremely low and this has the potential to create difficult or poor working conditions, low wages and what we call ‘scale dumping’. This involves hiring temporary, immigrant workers, lowering the cost of labour.”
FoodDrinkEurope has also prioritised the issue in outlining its joint priorities for the reform of CAP with EFFAT. The partners recognised seven priorities that need to be addressed in the course of the CAP overhaul for 2020.
In addition to supply chain fairness, the groups also called for an impact assessment of CAP’s effect on employment, agricultural production and the food and drink industry.
The bodies want the safety and quality of EU agriculture and food products to be maintained and the promotion of farmers’ and workers’ roles in bringing safe food to market through appropriate training.
How CAP will contribute to EU2020, the overall EU growth strategy, in delivering a productive EU agricultural sector is another main concern for the two organisations. They also stress the importance of innovation, research and knowledge transfer in EU agriculture.
And FoodDrinkEurope and EFFAT are also pressing for coherence between CAP and other EU policies, such as the EU Employment Strategy and the Agenda for New Skills and New Jobs.
Both partners said they would work together to promote their priorities through the legislative process.
They said they recognised the importance of the EU agricultural sector in terms of sustainable production, Europe’s food security, rural employment and landscape preservation and asked that the sector be given adequate support.