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German farmers call for improvements to the EU Directive against Unfair Commercial Practices in the food chain

The General Secretary of the German Farmers Association, Bernhard Krüsken, calls for the extension of the protection of marketing operations supported by farmers beyond the 350 million euros of turnover.


German farmer.

On the occasion of the hearing in the German Bundestag on February 22, 2021 on the bill for the national implementation of the EU Directive against Unfair Commercial Practices (UTP) in the food chain, the Secretary General of the Association of German farmers, Bernhard Krüsken, emphasized the need for improvements. “From the point of view of agriculture, it is problematic that the foreseen regulations only apply to companies with a turnover of up to 350 million euros. Many farmer-supported processing and marketing operations are above this threshold and face such business practices. The price and cost pressure in the food supply chain, which has risen again in recent months, and the low participation of farmers in added value, illustrate the need to expand the protected area, especially at this point " Krüsken said.

In addition, the so-called gray list, that is, generally classifies the list of practices allowed by express agreement as inadmissible and transfers them to the so-called black list. “These practices are not usually the result of equal bargaining either, but they often involve a unilateral shift of risk and costs to the weakest supplier,” warns Krüsken. The regulation on the reversal of the burden of proof requires intensive scrutiny. While it will be difficult for the weaker supplier to provide evidence of unfair practices while maintaining their anonymity, the stronger market buyer is more likely to be able to demonstrate their honest behavior to the competent authority if there is a justified suspicion.

UTP regulation is an important and necessary step from the point of view of agriculture. To ensure a sustainable and permanent visual level in the food chain, it is also necessary to allow the creation of counterweights at the producer level. 

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