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USAID and Syngenta partnership will help over half a million Nigerian farmers

USAID and Syngenta partnership will help over half a million Nigerian farmers &-8211; this Article or News was published on this date:2019-05-16 07:10:50 kindly share it with friends if you find it helpful

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USAID and Syngenta partnership will help over half a million Nigerian farmers

August 27, 2014

Syngenta has significantly increased its engagement in Africa over the past several years. The latest milestone is a new partnership between the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and Syngenta Nigeria, which aims to help over half a million farmers to increase agricultural production.

USAID and Syngenta Partnership

The new partnership in Nigeria with USAID is further evidence of Syngenta’s long-term commitment to boosting African agriculture sustainably. It builds on an existing global MoU(Memorandum of Understanding). The latest partnership advances US President Obama’s “Global Hunger and Food Security Initiative”, which is focused on inclusive agricultural growth through building capacity in the private agricultural sector. 


The Nigerian government is particularly focused on disseminating modern agricultural practices and improving the quality of agricultural inputs to re-establish Nigeria&-8217;s position as the breadbasket of Africa. To this end, the partnership will directly contribute to the Nigerian Ministry of Agriculture&-8217;s Agriculture Transformation Agenda (ATA).

Syngenta&-8217;s long-term commitment to improving agricultural productivity in Africa means we are actively seeking new strategic partnership opportunities to better reach millions of smallholders. We already partner with the World Economic Forum&-8217;s Grow Africa and Grow Asia initiatives, and have established programs across the African continent over the past few years (see sidebar). The Nigerian partnership reaffirms Syngenta&-8217;s belief that Africa has the resources not only to feed its growing population but also to become a major world food exporter.

Catalyzing agricultural development

Syngenta has trained over 10,000 farmers in Nigeria so far this year, and through the partnership will multiply its activities to reach thousands more. We will also strengthen the capacity of hundreds of agro-dealers across multiple states and crops, and train them on how to adequately serve the needs of smallholder farmers. Syngenta and USAID will also cooperate on identifying employment opportunities in the agricultural sector for participants of President Obama’s Mandela Washington Fellowship, formerly known as the Young African Leaders Initiative.

Syngenta&-8217;s Commercial Unit Head Nigeria, Dr. Shachi Sharma, said: &-8220;We are looking forward to working with USAID to bring together smallholder farmers and accelerate the development of a retail network. We will also lay the foundations for providing advanced agricultural training to hundreds of thousands of farmers across Nigeria.&-8221;

Smallholders are part of the solution

Smallholders worldwide play a key role in helping to feed an ever-growing world population and Syngenta is committed to helping them to increase their productivity. Nearly 40 percent (source: FAO ResourceSTAT, faostat.fao.org) of the world&-8217;s arable land is farmed by small growers. And the step change in productivity that&-8217;s needed will only be achieved if they, too, have access to the best new technologies.

Through The Good Growth Plan, Syngenta is committed to ensuring that farming is a viable and attractive occupation that will help to create vibrant, productive rural communities. We are doing this by providing tools and training that make agriculture more productive, efficient and profitable. By partnering with organizations such as USAID, we can bring farmers the products and know-how to raise productivity while preserving the long-term potential of their land.

source:http://www.syngenta.com

The top 5 food and agriculture stories in 2014

The top 5 food and agriculture stories in 2014 &-8211; this Article or News was published on this date:2019-05-16 07:10:47 kindly share it with friends if you find it helpful

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Year in review: Climate change continued to pose a threat to food security, but companies and governments rallied to make progress towards a secure and sustainable global food system. Here&-8217;s a look at the ups and downs of the food and agriculture industry in 2014.

 

Purplish-pink lighting from LED lights helps Panasonic to grow vegetables vertically arranged in shelves within its manufacturing facility. Image: Panasonic

Feeding a growing global population in a sustainable manner remained a key challenge in 2014, with climate change continuing to threaten crop yields in many parts of the world. But the year also saw efforts by players all along the supply chain to boost food security while minimizing the industry’s adverse impact on the environment.

Top-level guidelines on sustainable food and agriculture practices issued by the United Nations Global Compact set the tone for the industry at large, while various commitments from palm oil companies to stop deforestation pointed to more sustainable trends in global agriculture. New urban farming innovations, led by hi-tech electronic companies, gave the world a glimpse into a future where fast-growing fresh vegetables, cultivated in cities, could help ensure affordable and safe food for a burgeoning population.

Here’s our pick of the top 5 developments this year: 

1. Zero-deforestation commitments from world’s largest companies

Global cosmetics firm L’Oreal in February pledged to end all deforestation from its supply chains by 2020. The company committed to ensuring that all the palm oil, soya oil and wood fibre-based products in its supply chain were sustainably sourced, marking a key step in the global effort to break the link between industrial agriculture and deforestation. Other consumer-facing companies that made similar pledges this year are Japan-based Kao CorporationProcter and Gamble, and doughnut companies Krispy Kreme and Dunkin’ Donuts.

Forest protection campaigners also celebrated commitments by palm oil companies to eliminate deforestation from their supply chains. After facing heavy criticism for links to palm oil grown in Indonesia’s fragile and biodiverse Leuser Ecosystem, Singapore’s Musim Mas released a sustainability policy in December pledging to eliminate deforestation, peatlands conversion, and social conflict from its palm oil supply chain.

Dutch edible oil giant IOI Loders Croklaan, American food giant Cargill, and Singapore-listed Golden Agri Resources were among the firms who this year committed to ensuring that all the palm oil they traded, including from third-party suppliers, would not be from illegally deforested land. These company pledges followed similar zero-deforestation commitments made by palm oil traders Wilmar and Asia Pulp and Paper last year.

2. Governments take strong legal action 

In addition to bottom-up commitments by palm oil and consumer product companies, governments around the world also introduced laws that would help break the link between agricultural expansion and deforestation.

In August, Singapore’s government passed a new bill on Transboundary Haze Pollution, which would impose fines of up to S$2 million on companies found to be responsible for contributing to haze pollution in Singapore, whether or not these businesses had a presence in Singapore.

A month later, Indonesia also ratified a regional treaty on haze, a move that will legally require the country to work with its neighbours in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) bloc to prevent, monitor, and mitigate the haze. Indonesia’s ratification of the Asean Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution comes 12 years after the document was first signed. The country had been under renewed pressure to formally commit to regional cooperation on haze after a severe haze crisis, caused largely by forest fires in Sumatra and Kalimantan, swept Southeast Asia in mid-2013. This was hailed as a ‘timely move’ by Singapore.

new food labelling law passed in Europe in December, which requires ingredients such as palm oil to be clearly indicated on ingredient lists, is also an important step towards a sustainable global palm oil industry. The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil reported that the transparent labelling laws led to an increased sale of certified sustainable palm oil this year.

3. Climate change threatens food security worldwide

The increasing frequency and intensity of droughts, floods, and rising sea levels compromised crop yields all over the world, underscoring the looming threat to food security posed by climate change. A report released in December showed that in Bangladesh, rising sea levels caused groundwater and soils in coastal areas to become too saline for even salt-tolerant varieties of rice to thrive.  In Australia, a blistering heatwave in January, which brought temperatures close to 50 degrees Celsius, caused concerns about the country’s wheat and sugar crop, and cattle populations.

In addition to changes in water levels and temperature, climate change was also linked to the spread of crop diseases such as leaf rust, whichcompromised coffee production in Latin America, threatening the livelihoods of farmers and driving up the price of Arabica beans in global markets.Cocoa yields in Cameroon took a similar hit due to persistent rains during the harvesting season, forcing local farmers to accept lower prices for their beans.

Such pressures on food security were compounded by a rapidly growing world population and soil degradation due to over-cultivation and deforestation, prompting experts to call for urgent improvements to food production and consumption practices.  

4. New sustainability guidelines for food and agriculture industry

In a bid to help food and agricultural businesses operate in a more sustainable manner, the United Nations Global Compact in May announced a set of six voluntary principles to guide the industry towards better operations, more collaboration, and more consistent sustainability reporting. This set of principles, the first of its kind for the industry, included waste minimization, maintaining livestock, fisheries and forests responsibly, and respecting the human rights of farmers and workers.

5. The rise of hi-tech food farms

Electronics manufacturers such as Panasonic, Toshiba, and Fujitsu recently expanded their businesses to include hi-tech vertical farms which produce vegetables such as lettuce, radish, spinach and sprouts. Panasonic set up a farm in Singapore in August which uses special LED lights to cultivate vegetables in as little as 35 days, a move that meets the government’s food security goals. Toshiba also started cultivating greens like spinach, lettuce and greens in a factory in Japan earlier this year.

These initiatives by electronics companies, along with innovative urban farming projects from around the world, are expected to increase access to locally grown food, yield more energy and resource efficient farming methods, and allow food to be grown faster than conventional farming, outcomes which are likely to make valuable contributions to global food security efforts.

source:http://www.eco-business.com/news/top-5-food-agriculture-stories-2014/

By Vaidehi ShahDecember 2014

 

 

Competitive African Rice Initiative (CARI)

Competitive African Rice Initiative (CARI) &-8211; this Article or News was published on this date:2019-05-16 07:10:45 kindly share it with friends if you find it helpful

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The Competitive African Rice Initiative (CARI) is focused on improving the livelihood and empowering small scale rice farmers in Sub-Sahara Africa.

The selected region include four African Countries, namely Burkina Faso, Ghana, Nigeria and Tanzania while the targeted states of Nigeria include Niger State, Kogi State (First tier) Benue State, Taraba State, Nasarawa State (Second Tier).

It was reported that a grant of $3.3 million was provided by Bill and Melinda Gates (BMGF) and the German Development Cooperation (BMZ), under their Competitive African Rice Initiative (CARI) project.

 

PURPOSE OF THE GRANT

Projects approved under the fund shall result in sustainably increasing income for rice farmers through:

  • Increased productivity and quality of paddy rice and complementary crops

  • Increased efficiency of local rice sourcing, processing and marketing

  • Improved access to financial services for all value chain actors (http://cari-project.org/wiki/Main_Page-tab=Call_for_concept_notes)

The fund will co-fund activities and investment undertaken by:

  • Private Sector Organizations (PSOs) – organized agribusinesses i.e. processors, millers, off-takers, seed and input companies, technology service providers etc. that are legally recognized and empowered to enter into binding agreements

  • Public Sector Institutions (PSIs) – research institutes, ministries, departments and agencies of governments that are legally recognized and empowered to enter into binding agreements

  • Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) / Non State Actors (NSAs) that are legally recognized and empowered to enter into binding agreements

 

The maximum grant amount per project shall be fixed at Euro 200,000 .The minimum amount of the grant shall be Euro 36,364.

Culled from http://cari-project.org

 

For more on the Competitive African Rice Initiative (CARI), visit http://cari-project.org

 

A NEW VISION FOR AGRICULTURE

A NEW VISION FOR AGRICULTURE &-8211; this Article or News was published on this date:2019-05-16 07:10:45 kindly share it with friends if you find it helpful

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Realizing a New Vision for Agriculture: A roadmap for stakeholders

Executive Summary

The World Needs a New Vision for Agriculture

Agriculture provides much more than food. It offers essential commodities, environmental services and social goods that facilitate economic development, industrialization and diversification. From its inception, the purpose of agriculture has been to feed and fuel human activity. And now, it is more important than ever. The world must produce more with less. The sector is entering a new era, marked by scarcer resources, greater demand and higher risks of volatility. Since agriculture accounts for 70% of water use and up to 30% of greenhouse gas emissions, it contributes to and is threatened by environmental degradation. This will be exacerbated as the growing population demands more food – nearly double today’s levels by 2050 – and more resource-intensive produce such as meat and dairy. Agriculture can better fulfil the world’s most basic social needs. Nearly 1 billion people go hungry today – half of them farmers – and malnutrition severely impedes human and economic development. Three-quarters of the poor live in rural areas, most relying on agriculture for their livelihood. In many regions, women contribute the bulk of farm labour. Farmers can be among the greatest beneficiaries of agricultural development and are at the core of the solution.

 

The Time to Act Is Now: Committing to 20/20/20

The New Vision for Agriculture strives to harness the power of agriculture to drive food security, environmental sustainability and economic opportunity. Its aspirations are high, not least of which are to increase production by 20% while decreasing emissions by 20% and reducing the prevalence of rural poverty by 20% every decade.

 

These goals are intended to build on the Millennium Development Goals and other international targets by coordinating and concentrating the efforts of agricultural players around the world.

 

We must act together with scale and speed. Market-based approaches are essential to implementing viable solutions, as is collaboration among farmers, private industry, governments and civil society.

The challenge is enormous, but the opportunity is both substantial and achievable.

 

Innovative Tools Can Break Bottlenecks in the Value Chain

  • Constraints can be found at every stage of the agricultural chain, from research to consumption. While common problems affect agriculture in many countries, such as inadequate access to inputs, finance and storage, the most effective solutions to breaking these bottlenecks vary between regions and systems.

  • Agriculture is and must continue to be innovation-driven. Many players have developed highly effective point interventions to address bottlenecks in the value chain, improving input technologies and farmer capabilities, for example. The technical know-how of global institutions must be combined with the resourceful acumen of local entrepreneurs to inspire new breakthroughs. Achieving the New Vision requires a greater number of these successes, adopted quickly at scale.

 

Sparking a Virtuous Cycle of Increasing Skill and Investment

Realizing agriculture’s full potential as a driver of food security, environmental sustainability and economic opportunity requires fundamentally shifting the way the system operates. Innovative tools only work if they are supported by the right policy, infrastructure and market structure. Improved seed does not yield a full harvest without soil management and storage; an improved harvest can result in price erosion and regional surplus without appropriate market links.

 

A New Generation of Agricultural Initiatives

In a few places, governments, businesses and civil society are spearheading these virtuous cycles by orchestrating and accelerating investments to change agricultural systems holistically. Many such approaches are in the early stages, but have the potential to transform even the most challenged geographies. Examples of robust collaboration concentrate on a particular crop or geographic region, such as value chain interventions, infrastructure corridors, breadbaskets and national sector transformations. By coordinating their efforts, stakeholders can mitigate risk, leverage their contributions and build on each other’s competencies to harness market forces for sustainable growth. Every Stakeholder Has a Critical Role The scale of the challenge will require everyone to step up their efforts. Governments must lead, setting the direction for their country’s transformation and creating the right environment to achieve it. Businesses drive implementation through innovation, investment and competition. Civil society mobilizes and supports communities, manages risk, builds local capacity and bridges gaps not addressed by the market. The companies leading this initiative commit to realizing the new vision for agriculture. But they cannot do it alone.

 

Goals of the New Vision Agriculture

The Goals of the New Vision Agriculture can be a positive driver of food security, environmental sustainability and economic opportunity. It is the only sectoral investment that addresses these three pressing issues simultaneously. Each part of this Vision is vital to the long-term viability and success of agriculture. What do we envision with this New Vision? Consider the following: as a farmer, you feed your family and the wider community. You produce enough to earn a living without compromising the ecosystem. You have the knowledge to make better decisions about what to grow and how to grow it. Your produce reaches consumers, who can make informed choices for a healthy diet. The obesity epidemic is curbed and mass hunger is eliminated. Clean water is available when and where it is needed; we A global agriculture system that harnesses the power of markets and multi stakeholder collaboration to feed the world, protect our planet and create prosperity ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY Conserve or enhance the quality and quantity of natural resources; meet the challenges of changing climate ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY FOOD SECURITY Meet nutritional demands while providing affordable choices across the food value chain ENVIRONMENT Conserve or e quantity of nat the challenges TY demands while able choices value chain &-8230;while generating economic growth and opportunity Provide food security for all&-8230; …in an environmentally sustainable way continue to rely on biodiversity for daily and future needs. People along the agricultural value chain can pursue livelihoods and create jobs – not just on farms, but in industry, business and services. Men and women are motivated and rewarded for inventions that improve their food system and living standards. Rural parents can raise their children to lead fulfilling and healthy lives. To help realize these aspirations, the New Vision is anchored to three core goals. These build on the foundation of the Millennium Development Goals and other international targets by coordinating and concentrating the efforts of agricultural players around the world. Provide food security for all … Meet nutritional demands while providing affordable choices across the food value chain

 

• Increase agricultural production by 20% each decade and substantially reduce waste, towards the elimination of hunger and undernourishment Achieving food security requires more than increasing production – although sufficient supply is necessary. Building this pillar of the New Vision will require improvements across the supply chain to close yield gaps, promote efficient distribution, minimize waste and improve food access. It will also involve focused efforts to engage the most vulnerable and bring them into the broader agriculture system. Consumers will have to be educated to make the best choices and minimize spoilage and waste. A critical focal point is maternal and child health, as this is a proven axis for a community’s broader nutritional status. … in an environmentally sustainable way … Conserve or enhance the quality and quantity of natural resources; meet the challenges of a changing climate Supporting Nutritional Security Proper nutrition is essential for human development and productivity. Ensuring proper nutrition requires robust agriculture systems globally, as well as appropriate awareness and decision-making locally. Nutritious food must first be available. This involves balancing crop choices (e.g. vegetables), as well as appropriate varieties (e.g. biofortification) to meet protein, caloric and micro-nutrient requirements. Nutritious food must also be affordable to enable equitable access. This entails both improving consumers’ incomes and lowering costs through supply chain efficiencies and product design. Finally, consumers must choose and absorb healthy nutrition. This can be furthered by delivering evidence-based and locally appropriate options (e.g. supplementation, diverse menus), raising community awareness and promoting healthy practices such as breast-feeding and proper sanitation. An emerging area of focus is the interaction between agriculture, nutrition and health. While historically managed as separate sectors, these are increasingly recognized as closely interlinked parts of a larger chain, in which agriculture serves as a driver of human health through its delivery of nutritional needs. This requires a broader framework for managing health – including both over and under-nutrition – within the context of a sustainable food system.

 

• Reduce emissions per tonne of production by 20% each decade; optimize overall water use; lessen agricultural impact on the environment

Agricultural production need not be a detriment to the planet; in fact, it can be a linchpin of sustainability. It provides vital ecosystem services such as watershed management and carbon sequestration that offset industrial growth. The New Vision strives for an absolute minimization of the environmental footprint, beginning with reductions in its impact relative to production. This includes limiting greenhouse gas emissions and water consumption while preserving soil health and biodiversity. It necessitates judicious use of technologies, monocultures and cropland expansion. It will also require technological breakthroughs to help farmers adapt to the consequences of climate change, enable production and mitigate risk under increasingly difficult conditions. … while generating economic growth and opportunity. Drive rural and national economic development around the globe with well-targeted investments

 

• Decrease the proportion of rural inhabitants living on less than US$ 1.25/day by 20% each decade Agriculture is the predominant driver of growth in many low- and middle-income countries, and GDP growth from agriculture has proven to be more effective at reducing poverty than growth originating in other sectors. Investing in the success of rural populations is vital to equitable human development. This involves targeting those below the poverty line and enabling the growth of rural economies with widespread access to transport, energy and information. Farmers who earn can spend, supporting jobs and incomes for local businesses and service providers. Thriving local communities can invest more in education and healthcare, propelling productivity. Reaching the central goals of the New Vision will require contributions from every stakeholder of global agriculture: developed and developing countries, exporters and importers, large-scale producers and subsistence growers. Farmers will need to be engaged and empowered in every system. Large commercial players are critical to stabilizing global supply and can apply sustainable practices at scale. Smallholders, who currently lack access to critical inputs and markets, will be vital to meeting local nutritional and economic needs. Pursuing the New Vision’s three objectives simultaneously will inevitably require careful societal choices and tradeoffs.

 

Mobilizing Business as an Agent of Change

Given these historical successes and today’s need for broad-based action in agriculture, stakeholders are beginning to orchestrate their efforts to spark such virtuous cycles. An initial challenge in developing countries is how to reach and engage millions of smallholders and rural consumers: it is impractical for a single institution to address the varying barriers in every village. If profit incentives are aligned with the goals of agricultural development and appropriate social safeguards, businesses have the motivation and capability to drive localized change. This applies to family-owned shops as well as multinational corporations. In many areas today, there are impediments to robust private sector involvement. In addition to ensuring the right policies, infrastructure and market structure, stakeholders may help attract and accelerate private investment. For instance, the government can offer timebound financial incentives (such as land or tax breaks) to offset startup costs; foundations can provide seed funding for research and logistics; and NGOs can organize and train producers so they offer a critical mass of talent. In attracting local businesses, it is critical to consider economic scale and sustainability: forward-looking business models that allow for sufficient ongoing operating profit without long-term dependence on operating subsidies. Achieving the New Vision requires the private sector to be engaged as an active partner. This includes, but is not limited to, traditional competencies such as technological expertise, financing and sourcing. It also extends to more proactive roles like private extension, smallholder aggregation (e.g. nucleus farms, warehouses), nutrition education and multistakeholder coordination. In stepping up to lead the transformative process, companies can harness the power of markets to deliver enduring impact. “Farming at any scale is a business, and smallholders and producers must be treated as entrepreneurs.” Kanayo Nwanze President, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)

 

Models of Collaboration

Emerging examples of holistic approaches (not exhaustive): National sector transformation Value-chain intervention b Infrastructure corridor c d Breadbasket Pol icy Tools st ur t c r u e Ma kr t e Infrastruct ure a Broad policy scheme that renovates market structure to spur private investment towards specific economic and social objectives Business investments in the production of a particular crop to improve the value of goods from planting through to consumption Coordinated investment in an infrastructure system to jumpstart and facilitate rural markets and reduce logistical inefficiencies Concentrated investment in an area with high agricultural potential and many smallholder farmers to increase production of staples.

 

Moving Forward Together

These transformation models build on the lessons of past successes and try to address shortcomings of previous approaches by being socially inclusive, forward-looking and market-oriented. They address the lack of multistakeholder coordination that has historically prevented many agriculture interventions from realizing lasting impact or commercial viability. A better transformation plan is a large part of the path forward, as is well-orchestrated implementation. Given the capacity restraints of many governments, large-scale change programmes are increasingly using short-term “special delivery units” or project management offices, vested with the authority to balance stakeholder interests, coordinate investments and ensure timely implementation of commitments. In the right circumstances, these can be valuable in delivering mutually accepted results. We encourage stakeholders to build on the examples presented here and develop additional ways of working together to create viable, inclusive markets that address local nutritional, environmental and social needs. These can be initiated by any organization that is willing to take the lead: public, private or civil. The opportunity is sufficiently great and circumstances sufficiently diverse for each stakeholder to champion change in its areas of expertise and passion. The success of any development initiative ultimately relies on delivering local results, so programmes must be implemented to empower individual decision-making and enable community ownership. Effective models are often designed for a country or region, where programmes driven by national leaders can achieve scale within the unique cultural context. The changes necessary also depend on a robust global market. This implies a shift in mindset and policy for developed and developing countries. For instance, as long as commodity prices fail to factor in environmental costs, industry will have an incentive to overdraw: some form of compensation for environmental service would greatly improve the long-term management of natural resources. Furthermore, tariff and non-tariff barriers continue to skew production costs and obstruct the efficient flow of goods and services across borders; consistent trade policies promote competitiveness, fairness and stable distribution. What is clear is that every stakeholder has a critical role to play, and the scale of the challenge will require an intensification of efforts across the board. In particular, governments must set the direction for their countries’ agricultural development and play a strong leadership role in holistic transformation. Businesses should stretch to innovate and invest, tactically driving implementation of the New Vision through the market.

 

Operating principles of the New Vision for Agriculture

  • Mobilize the private sector to unleash agriculture as core driver of future growth and stability

  • Employ market-based solutions to activate public and private investments

  • Empower farmers and entrepreneurs to reach their full potential

  • Integrate interventions to achieve momentum and scale

  • Collaborate with diverse stakeholders to build on strengths and distribute risk

 

source: http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_IP_NVA_Roadmap_Report.pdf

GOOD NEWS FOR EXPORTERS

GOOD NEWS FOR EXPORTERS &-8211; this Article or News was published on this date:2019-05-16 07:10:42 kindly share it with friends if you find it helpful

                                                                            

WHAT IS THE NEW EU UNFAIR TRADING PRACTICES DIRECTIVE

AND HOW DOES IT AFFECT ACP HORTICULTURAL SUPPLIERS?

For over 10 years, the European Union have been tasked with ways on how to tackle unfair trading practices in agricultural supply chains. On 10 April 2019, this activity finally bore fruit and the ground breaking EU Unfair Trading Practices Directive was formally adopted. For the first time there will be a shared minimum standard for fair trading practices enforced throughout Europe. This will provide regulatory certainty to buyers and confidence to suppliers – even those based outside the EU – that they will be able to access protection regardless of where their European buyer is based.

 

 Agricultural supply chains include businesses from small-scale family farms to huge multinational enterprises. This means that smaller suppliers are vulnerable to unfair treatment – such as last-minute cancellation of orders and late payments. The impact on small businesses’ costs can put food safety and workers’ conditions at risk. “

Unfair trading practices are business-to-business practices that grossly deviate from good commercial conduct and are contrary to good faith and fair dealing. They are typically imposed unilaterally, by a stronger party on a weaker one.” (European Parliament, 2019)

 

WHAT IS COVERED?

The unfair trading practices covered in the Directive include:

  • late payments for perishable food products
  • last-minute order cancellations
  • unilateral or retroactive changes to contracts
  • refusal to enter into a written contract
  • returning unsold or wasted products
  • payment for buyer’s marketing.

Other practices, such as the return of unsold products to suppliers, will only be permitted if clearly pre-agreed by both parties.

The new Directive now needs to be transposed into the law of each EU Member State within the next 2 years. EU Member States have to designate an enforcement authority – a public body with the power to investigate suspected unfair trading practices and impose penalties.

 

 Further unfair trading practices, such as buying and selling below cost, using two-stage auctions to drive down prices, or de-listing a supplier without genuine commercial reasons, are not currently included in the list of banned practices. The possibility is left to Member States to extend the list in their national law.

WHO IS AFFECTED?

 The Directive covers the buying practices of businesses that purchase agri-food products if they are:

  • in a larger size category than their supplier, and
  • based in the EU, or
  • based outside the EU but purchasing from an EU supplier.

This includes retailers, brands, processors and public bodies.

 Suppliers of agri-food products can access protection under this law if they are:

  • in a smaller size category than their buyer and have an annual turnover less than €350 million, and ƒ based in the EU, or
  • based outside the EU but selling to an EU-based buyer.

This includes farmers, processors and brands.

Taking size as an indicator of market power, the Directive groups companies into six size categories, the smallest being €0–2 million and the largest >€350 million.

Businesses in the middle of the supply chain will often be both buyers and suppliers.

 

HOW WILL THE NEW DIRECTIVE AFFECT ACP SUPPLIERS?

Farmers in ACP countries are often particularly vulnerable to unfair trading practices. They are less likely to have links with alternative markets, and may have less access to legal support, a functioning union, or the information they need to challenge the unfair practices of large European customers. The new Directive provides protection to suppliers who are based outside the EU but selling to an EU-based buyer.

Knowing that an order will not be cancelled provides producers with more predictable incomes enabling them to invest in their businesses or in other expenses such as improving housing or paying for children’s education.

The success of the Directive relies on suppliers coming forward. Many suppliers – especially ACP suppliers – may not have the time, training, support or language to understand the implications of new EU laws. It is crucial that Member States work with trade attachés, producer associations and international NGOs to provide vulnerable producers with legal assistance, including providing resources where necessary.  Even suppliers who are aware of the law may be reluctant to complain for fear of commercial retribution, and must be reassured that complaints are confidential and their identity will not be disclosed. A hard-won feature of the Directive is that it allows other organisations (such as NGOs, producer organisations and unions) to make complaints on behalf of suppliers, making it more likely that complaints will be made to highlight illegal practices.

 Experience from national-level enforcement shows that the very existence of a law, and the potential of a fine, is enough to ensure that buyers hold themselves to a higher standard in their supply chain relationships.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

European Parliament (2019) ‘Food: protecting farmers and small firms from unfair trading practices’. News, 11 March. www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/headlines/society/20190307STO30717/protectingfarmers-and-small-firms-from-unfair-trading-practices

Wills, T. (2019) ‘What is the EU’s new Unfair Trading Practices Directive?’ Traidcraft Exchange blog, 19 February.

 www.traidcraft.org.uk/traidcraft-in-depth/2019/2/19/what-is-the-eus-new-unfairtrading-practices-directive