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De Castro meets the processing tomato industry of northern Italy
The Omnibus regulation, which recently came into effect throughout the European Union, reinforces the contractual prerogatives of POs (agricultural producers' organizations) and extends the remit of interbranch organizations (IOs). This is the message expressed by Paolo De Castro, Vice-president of the Agricultural Commission of the European Parliament, when speaking to growers and processors affiliated with northern Italy's Pomodoro IO, during a recent visit to Parma.
Paolo De Castro and Tiberio Rabboni "The new Omnibus regulation reinforces the contractual prerogatives of the POs and extends the remit of the interbranch organization.”
Mr. De Castro explained that "Omnibus encourages the orderly concentration of the agricultural sector and, to this effect, has attributed new and important prerogative to POs, to APOs (associations of producers' organizations) and to IOs. In particular, POs and APOs will have the possibility of planning their members' production, of offering their crops on the market and of negotiating contracts for them, by special exception to the directives concerning competition and antitrust devices. Single POs and APOs will represent a production opportunity that is more representative and more optimized.”
In order to underline the role played by interbranch organizations, Mr. De Castro added: "The novelty is that the IO, at the request of growers and processors, will be able to define the rules for sharing out the final value generated by the industry and, to that end, of taking on the responsibilities of control and guarantee.”
Fighting against unfair commercial practices
Mr. De Castro then expressed his commitment as a rapporteur for the EU directive relating to unfair trade practices within the food industry – a text that represents "extra protection for the value of agricultural production and food manufacturing in its unequal relationship with major retail chains." This directive will be put forward on 10 July for a vote that is planned end of September or early October by the Agricultural Commission of the European Parliament, and an agreement is expected by the end of the year between Parliament, the Commission and the European Council.
The proposed a directive includes the future creation of a national authority in charge of collecting complaints, even anonymous ones, from growers against the unfair trade practices of major retail operators, as well as carrying out control checks and, when justified, applying relevant sanctions.