Minister of Agriculture Elisabeth Köstinger (ÖVP) has once again launched a sweeping attack on retail groups. With a view to the price negotiations, she identified “a schizophrenic and absurd” system that puts pressure on farms and “must come to an end”. It is important to guarantee fair prices for the companies, demanded Köstinger.
Köstinger continued to criticize that “profits in the millions are written on the backs of farms”. Dispute between Schirnhofer and Rewe “only the tip of the iceberg” Recent publicized cases of unfair practices are “only the tip of the iceberg”, she referred to the public dispute between the meat processor Karl Schirnhofer and the Billa concern Rewe. From March, producers affected by “extortion practices” could also contact the ombudsman set up especially for this purpose, emphasized the minister. Law being implemented “Reasonable and fair prices and appreciation for the farmer’s work” are required, said Köstinger. In this sense, a law is now being implemented that prohibits “unfair practices” such as excessive payment terms on the part of the trade towards the farmers. It is about strengthening the position of the farmers in the value chain, she said. Processing companies also requiredKöstinger also made the processing companies responsible, especially with regard to pork production. As a farmer, “you now have to sell more than a kilo of pork to be able to afford to park in Vienna for an hour,” said the politician. This is a completely absurd system that could be avoided if the trading companies would not buy the pork cheaper from other countries. Origin is a central issue The issue of origin is central to supporting the farmers. A mandatory indication of origin is needed in Austria so that transparency can finally be created for consumers. Köstinger demanded that this system not only be implemented in Austria but throughout Europe.