Farming organizations across Europe and North America should campaign for tough and effective measures to deter and punish the abuse of supermarket power, said Peter Kendall, president of the UK’s National Farmers Union, speaking at the North American and EU Agricultural Conference, held in Warsaw, Poland, in late October.
Kendall said that farmers in Britain have been engaged in a struggle to secure a legally binding code of practice, policed by an adjudicator with statutory powers, to deter and punish retailers who illegally exploit their dominant position. “Farmers are the poor relations of the food chain, not just in Britain, but across the developed world," said Kendall. "But this has got to change. If farmers and growers are to have the incentive and the resources to invest in achieving the step change in farm productivity that the world needs, we must ensure that supply chains deliver a fair share of what consumers pay for food to primary producers."
According to Kendall, even with the progress that has been made, and the prospect of legislation in the reasonably near future, there is still a lot of work to do to ensure that any code of practice put into place is truly effective. “This means allowing third parties, like farming organizations, to make complaints on their members’ behalf, so as to preserve anonymity and prevent victimization, and it means giving the watchdog the power to impose big fines, if naming and shaming proves an insufficient deterrent," said Kendall.