European Commission legislation to protect overseas farmers from supermarkets' unfair trading practices

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The European Commission has today proposed legislation on unfair trading practices in global food supply chains. The economic power of European supermarkets and their unfair trading practices lead to insecurity among their suppliers which directly impacts the most vulnerable people in the supply chain. The directive aims to protect small and medium-sized food suppliers against the abusive practices of large buyers by prohibiting certain trade practices and requiring member state to enforce the ban.
 
This proposal comes in the wake of the Europe wide Make Fruit Fair! Campaign, in which Banana Link played a significant role, in calling on the European Union to tackle injustices in the global banana supply chain, where, since 2001 banana wholesale prices have fallen by almost 25%, whilst retailers have increased their share of the banana value to around 40%. Our 2015 report, Banana value chains in Europe and the consequences of Unfair Trading Practices revealed how the practices of the supermarkets contributed to banana workers and small farmers in developing countries being exposed to toxic agro-chemicals, earning poverty level wages and working in a climate of fear.  
 
Photo: Kozel Fraser of the Windward Islands Farmers Association speaking about the impact of supermarket power at the launch of our 2015 report at the European Parliament.
 
Jacqui Mackay, Banana Link National Coordinator, welcomed the proposed legislation, saying: "This will be welcome news for the plantation workers and small-scale producers we work with, who, for many years have suffered the consequences of the power of supermarkets in pushing down the prices they pay for bananas, negatively impacting working conditions and threatening livelihoods".    
 
Sergi Corbalan of the Fair Trade Advocacy Office said, “This is an important first step to eradicate unfair trading practices in our food supply chain. The European Parliament and member states must now move fast to improve the Commission’s proposal. The EU must ensure that the most vulnerable actors in the supply chain have access to a complaint mechanism and allow complaints against all companies importing food into the EU.