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Food systems and farmers’ bargaining power: The case of "Unfair Trade Practices" in the EU

de Porras Acuna, Miguel Angel and Quiédeville, Sylvain (2018) Food systems and farmers’ bargaining power: The case of "Unfair Trade Practices" in the EU. In: Proceedings of the 13th European IFSA Symposium, Theme 5: Sustainable agrifood systems, value chains and power structures. 1-5 July 2018, Chania, Greece.

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Document available online at: http://www.ifsa2018.gr/uploads/attachments/162/Theme5_de_Porras_Acuna.pdf


EU agricultural policies have often been formulated from an “orthodox approach”, without directly tackling the issue of markets structure that tend to lower the power and economic welfare of farmers. This situation reveals a need to better comprehend the long-standing dynamics and processes determining the structural position of farmers to find suitable strategies for pushing forward more sustainable food value chain models. Classical and neo-classical economic approaches to the problem often consider Unfair Trade Practices (UTP) as only cyclical phenomenon caused by temporary disequilibrium on the market. Market forces are intended to stabilise prices and to balance power among value chain actors. Such approaches underestimate the role played for example by capital accumulation in EU food systems. Alternative and more complex analytical frameworks, for instance the Marxist or Chayanovian perspectives, need to be developed to better understand factors determining the lack of power and the weak position of farmers in food value chains, including the way the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has been influencing and could be impacting these aspects in the future. New approaches for dealing with UTP should also be developed to find innovative solutions being able to develop a more sustainable food system. This paper raises the crucial need of increasing awareness and informing policy-makers on potential new policy instruments and tools that could be used to address this problem of power imbalance and of inadequate governance schemes weakening the position of farmers in food value chains and causing or aggravating agricultural crises. The paper aims to outline suggestions to bring this research topic into strategic plans for future EU farming systems.

EPrint Type:Conference paper, poster, etc.
Type of presentation:Paper
Keywords:Unfair Trade Practices, EU Policy, Economic Welfare, Value Chain Structure, Fairness, Department of Socio-Economic Sciences, Innovation in Agriculture, FiBL Europe
Subjects: Farming Systems > Social aspects
Food systems > Markets and trade
Food systems > Produce chain management
Research affiliation: Belgium > FiBL Europe
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Socio-Economics
Deposited By: Quiédeville, Dr. Sylvain
ID Code:33671
Deposited On:15 Aug 2018 13:52
Last Modified:15 Aug 2018 13:52
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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