The Agrarian Chamber of the Czech Republic is considering protests due to the behavior of retail chains. Farmers are upset that the chains sell goods at a higher margin, while still being paid the same money. These could be traffic blocks in the vicinity of logistics centers or stores, the president of the chamber Jan Doležal said at a press conference. However, he did not provide details or the date of the protests.
According to the vice-president of the chamber, Jiří Milek, however, decisions will be made about events only at the end of the holidays. The President of the Confederation of Trade and Tourism of the Czech Republic, Tomáš Prouza, said that “agrobarons” are only interested in artificially increasing their profits at the expense of customers.
“We are seriously considering some actions, such as blockades, to draw attention to the unhappy situation that is here in the production vertical,” said Doležal.
According to Milek, who was the Minister of Agriculture in the first cabinet of Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO), the protests could be decided at the Agrosalon Země živitelka, which will be in České Budějovice at the end of August. The leadership of the chamber meets regularly here.
“We want to draw attention to the behavior of retail chains. Farmers will not be tied to barriers or block in large traffic, but would rather, if decided, block distribution centers or the stores themselves,” the president added. chambers.
According to him, it is not possible for trade in the Czech Republic to become rich in the long run and for farmers to have to sell commodities at the same prices as a decade ago.
The chamber also minds that the strings do not communicate with it. Representatives of the Chamber, the Agricultural Union of the Czech Republic and the Initiative of Agricultural and Food Enterprises therefore wrote a letter in May to the headquarters of the chains that run shops in the Czech Republic. These were the Schwarz Gruppe in Germany, Tesco in the United Kingdom, the REWE Group in Germany and Ahold Delhaize in the Netherlands.
According to the chamber, the letter said that farmers want to negotiate mutually beneficial conditions that will allow long-term relationships to be maintained. “After a month and a half, during which the said foreign companies did not respond to the letter, a second letter has now been sent with the same invitation to negotiations, the contents of which will be made known to the public,” the chamber added.
We reject the cartel, says the trade union
Prouza did not want to comment on the chamber’s letters, he did not receive them. “However, I must emphasize that neither SOCR nor individual retail chains will ever participate in any cartels that the Agrarian Chamber wants to conclude,” the president of the traders said in response.
According to him, the chamber is not about Czech food, but about an artificial increase in profit. “We clearly reject such an approach, regardless of whether agrobarons want to impose their products on people through quotas or blockades,” he said.
At the end of May, the chamber published a survey based on the responses of its member companies, and its members demand a ban on certain unfair commercial practices, such as the purchase of goods at below cost.
At the same time, an amendment to the Act on Significant Market Power was to bring changes to Czech legislation, which was to introduce a European directive on unfair commercial practices into the Czech Republic. Legislators had time to implement by the beginning of May this year, but they did not manage to do so. The amendment has not even been discussed by the government yet, according to Milek, it will only be really discussed by legislators who will emerge from the autumn elections.
Potatoes as an example this year
According to a May poll among 191 members of the chamber, most farmers encountered unfair practices. One third of the members stated that unfair practices were applied to them on a regular basis.
“A typical example of this year were potatoes, which farmers sold to packages at significantly below cost. The farm price in the first four months of this year, according to the Czech Statistical Office, averaged CZK 3.85 / kg, while ware potatoes cost 12.93 CZK / kg, “Doležal said earlier.
According to him, this means that the basic price of the raw material from the farmer contributes less than a third to the final price for the customer. “Therefore, in the spring, farmers also decided to sell production at least in part directly from the yard at prices that are significantly below the prices of ordinary trade,” he added. Doležal also argued that rising input prices, such as packaging or labor.
According to the President of the Agrarian Chamber of the Czech Republic, food is being imported into the Czech Republic at dumped prices from abroad, and Czech goods will not enter the chains. Farmers therefore grow crops that will be financially trouble-free, such as wheat or rape. The Chamber also proposes an increase in food stocks in the state’s material reserves.