Bulgarian Presidency hosts a debate on how to ensure fair treatment for farmers by big retailers


Rumen Porodzanov, Bulgarian Minister for Agriculture and Food, photo: European Union

The Bulgarian Presidency hosted a debate on the Commission proposal for a directive on unfair trading practices in the food supply chain, during the regular meeting of EU agriculture ministers in the Agriculture and Fisheries Council. Ministers welcomed the proposals to ensure fairer treatment for small and medium-sized food and farming businesses.

"It is high time to restore the balance in the food supply chain. We want to make sure that small farmers and retailers operate in a fair and healthy trading environment and that no abusive or unfair practice is tolerated. We welcome the Commission proposal and are ready to work constructively with the European Parliament to have the directive adopted as soon as possible", said Rumen Porodzanov, Bulgarian minister of agriculture, food and forestry,  who chaired the debate. Finding a solution to this issue is of key importance for the Bulgarian Presidency but also for many of the EU’s Member States. Work on this file will continue in detail at technical level.

At the meeting today, the Bulgarian Presidency also steered a discussion on the topic of food waste. With one third of food produced for human consumption (about 1.3 billion tons) being lost or wasted globally each year, this is a persistent problem that needs immediate action. Ministers took stock of what had been achieved to implement the 2016 Council Conclusions on the issue, and outlined the next steps to be taken.

"It is not acceptable that one third of all the food that we produce is lost or wasted before it reaches our tables. Especially in a world where there are more and more people to be fed. Today the Council restated its commitment to tackle this problem in line with its conclusions of June 2016", minister Porodzanov said.

The EU ministers had a first exchange of views on the ulti-annual plan for fish stocks in the western waters. The proposal, which is intended to restore demersal stocks and maintain them at sustainable levels, concerns the fleets of Belgium, Germany, France, Ireland, Spain, Portugal and the UK in the Atlantic Ocean. On Monday, ministers discussed its main features, following a presentation by the Commission.

A full overview of the discussions that took place at the meeting is available here.

Following the meeting, Minister Porodzanov gave a press conference, in which European Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis, in charge of Health and Food Safety, also took part.

Pictures and videos are available here.

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