The marketing circuit of agricultural products is now marked by a set of dysfunctions with the presence of certain practices leading to the increase in the price of basic food products. In this regard, the Economic, Social and Environmental Council (CESE) reminded us of the urgent need to reorganize this crucial link and to regulate the role of intermediaries in order to reduce prices.
The health crisis, drought, climate change and the Russian-Ukrainian conflict are essentially the main factors contributing to rising costs and the destabilization of supply chains at international and national levels. Indeed, the repercussions emanating from these various events have affected the purchasing power of citizens and threatened the country’s food security.
In addition, the ESEC affirms that this situation at the national level is attributable to the absence of a global and integrated governance framework for the process of marketing agricultural products, leading to several shortcomings in terms of the organization of agricultural product markets and the predominance of parallel marketing channels.
The Council emphasizes that it is also related to the low capacity of small and medium-sized farmers to organize themselves to sell their products under good conditions. Added to this is a still very weak digitization of the processes of marketing and adding value to agricultural products, which does not facilitate the direct and fluid access of small and medium-sized farmers to the various markets and outlets, excessive and poorly controlled intermediation which promotes the speculation and the multiplication of participants, penalizes the producer, impacts the quality of the products by lengthening the distribution circuits and therefore, increases the final sale price to the consumer.
However, the price of a product can sometimes triple or quadruple before reaching the consumer, which is why the public authorities, in particular the government, have taken a series of emergency measures, like the price control operations and the fight against speculation, export regulation to secure the supply of the domestic market, support for professionals in the road transport sector and the lifting of customs duties and VAT on the importation of red meats in order to compensate for the drop in the local supply.
In the light of the various findings and analyzes established by the ESEC in its various opinions, it is proposed to take a set of measures to organize the marketing channels for agricultural products and to limit speculation by intermediaries, whose role must be regulated.
It thus calls for an acceleration of the reform of the wholesale markets by adopting a system open to competition and conditioned by compliance with specifications and by putting in place regulations that clarify the internal functioning of the markets, the methods of eligibility of speakers, and the new royalty system.
The Council also insists on the development of short cooperative marketing circuits, promoting local trade and encouraging small and medium-sized farmers to group together in cooperatives, drawing inspiration from the approaches adopted by the sugar and dairy sectors. .
According to the institution’s press release, it is important to put in place a legal framework governing the practices of storage of agricultural products either for consumption purposes or intended later for cultivation and making it possible to fight effectively against storage for speculative purposes. .
This situation requires, on the other hand, the acceleration of the digital transformation of the marketing of agricultural products, in particular through the design of digital platforms allowing farmers, on the one hand, to instantly access data on prices in order to better negotiate with all the players in the marketing chain, and on the other hand to sell part of their products directly, specifies the ESEC.
For the Council, the establishment of a “price and margins observatory”, which could be hosted by the Competition Council, could help detect any behavior of unjustified accumulation of profit margins detriment to the purchasing power of citizens.