Coldiretti Calabria, +5.8 spending on food but farmers are strangled. Here are the initiatives for respecting contracts

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By John

Families spent 5.8% more to eat 3.9% less while farmers are underpaid for the prices they multiply from field to fork. This is what emerges from Coldiretti’s analysis based on Istat retail trade data in 2023. The anomalies along the supply chain are evident in Italy, from wheat to bread – Coldiretti underlines – the price increases up to twenty times I realize that to make a kilo of bread it takes about a kilo of wheat, from which 800 grams of flour are obtained to be mixed with water to obtain a kilo of finished product, with a range of scissors that has never been so wide. A kilo of wheat that is paid today to farmers around 24 cents is used to make a kilo of bread that is sold to consumers at prices that vary from 3 to 5 euros depending on the city. And the distortions – continues Coldiretti – are also evident in fresh products such as fruit and vegetables in which the price increases three to five times from the fields to the shelves, despite the fact that they do not have to undergo transformations from the field to the table while farm-gate milk is paid 0, 50 cents is sold for almost 2 euros on supermarket shelves. To combat distortions it was approved the Legislative Decree.n.198 of 8 November 2021strongly supported by Coldiretti against unfair practices in the supply chain. “A rule which provides that the prices paid to farmers and breeders never fall below production costs, but which Coldiretti was the first and only to want to apply”. In particular, it provides for the stop to 16 unfair practices ranging from compliance with payment terms (no more than 30 days for perishable products) to the prohibition of unilateral modifications of contracts and double-down online auctions, from limitations on sales below cost to the end of payments not connected to sales up to strictly written contracts. A rule which – Coldiretti specifies – provides above all that the prices recognized to farmers and breeders are not lower than production costs and which Coldiretti was the first and only one to want to apply by opening a dispute with the complaint of the French multinational Lactalis (which acquired the Italian brands Parmalat, Locatelli, Invernizzi, Galbani, Cadermartori and Nuova Castelli) for having unilaterally modified the contract with the farmers supplying milk, decreasing the recognized prices and also introducing a new index linked, among other things, to milk prices European Union not agreed upon and strongly penalizing Italian producers, already heavily penalized by high costs. An action that has now had a first positive response with the Central Inspectorate for the protection of quality and the repression of fraud in agri-food products (Icqrf) which has highlighted violations of the rule on unfair practices in relations between companies in the agri-food supply chain in relation to contracts on milk stipulated with Italian farmers by the French multinational Lactalis whose representatives will soon be heard at the Ministry. “This is only the first victory in a battle that will be long and difficult to protect the income of our businesses” confirms the president of Coldiretti Ettore Prandini, specifying that “we started with milk, but we are ready to mobilize across all supply chains to prevent other unfair practices against farmers such as in fruit and vegetables where the issue of respecting the minimum price is particularly serious”. Many agricultural companies are in fact afraid of retaliation in reporting any offenses imposed by large industrial groups and distribution chains and for this reason the entry into the field of the representation of farmers and breeders such as Coldiretti guarantees anonymity on the complaint of the individual company and therefore offers a greater bargaining power.