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The European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) has published a technical report on the estimated costs, benefits and risks for operators in the agri-food supply chain of increasing market transparency.

This report follows the publication of a proposal by the Commission in May 2019 to improve market transparency in the agri-food supply chain through an expansion in the weekly collection of representative prices from processors, wholesalers & retailers. The information will then be disseminated by the Commission through its agri-food data portal and market observatories. The proposal is currently being amended and is expected to be put to a vote by EU member state officials at the CMO Committee (Horizontal questions) in September.

While overall being a very positive and welcome proposal there are a number of elements which ICOS is seeking to be addressed at this stage, namely the tightening of deadlines for the reporting of raw milk prices, which would be too restrictive for the functionality of Irish dairy co-operatives. 

The JRC report, entitled “Market transparency: Costs of external data reporting by private operators in the EU agri-food supply chain’” found that respondents believe that the benefits of these measures, which include an improvement in market knowledge and increased opportunities for risk management, out-way the potential risks around business confidentiality and higher competitive pressure. However, the reporting of gross and net margins was criticised in particular for creating a significant potential risk win this regard. The findings are based on questionnaire results from and interviews of agri-food business operators, including farmers, processors, traders and retailers from across the EU.

The associated costs of this additional reporting are expected to add an additional 20% to the total running costs of current internal report systems for the majority of operators. These costs are largely personnel and IT related.

Read the full report here: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/bitstream/JRC116927/jrc-mt_costsreporting.pdf

Alison Graham – European Affairs Executive