The aims of market transparency
A lack of market transparency and information asymmetries can lead to inefficient markets and give those with access to the most accurate data disproportionate power. This is why the EU currently provides pricing and other market information for many agricultural commodities.
Though the EU provides extensive information on agricultural producer and consumer prices, less information is available on prices in the intermediary stages of the food supply chain.
Providing information for these intermediate steps will increase market efficiency by supporting better business decisions and improving trust between stakeholders at each stage of the food supply chain. Having easy and timely access to information about market developments is also key to allowing European food producers to compete effectively in global markets. This will benefit smaller operators in particular, who do not have access to this information through private sources.
On 1 October 2019 the European Commission adopted new regulatory measures to improve market transparency in the agri-food supply chain.
Market transparency in practice
The regulation covers the meat, eggs, dairy, fruit and vegetables, arable crops, sugar, and olive oil sectors.
It adds a wider scope to existing data collection systems and procedures, providing new information on the downstream stages of the food supply chain.
The data will help all operators – including farmers, their producer organisations, and small and medium sized enterprises – to observe market trends at the different stages in the chain and to evaluate their impact.
Each EU country is responsible for collecting price and market data. To reduce the administrative burden, the Commission recommends small and medium-sized enterprises are not targeted in this data collection. EU countries communicate the data to the Commission, which makes the information available on its agri-food data portal and EU market observatories. It is essential that the information provided by EU countries is accurate and timely. A number of common queries about market transparency are addressed in the Commission's frequently asked questions document.
Economic analysis and public consultation
Timeline of consultation
- October 2019
Commission staff working document on market transparency in the EU’s food supply chain (the Commission’s economic analysis) – accompanying EU Implementing Regulation 2019/1746
- February 2019Stakeholder conference on market transparency in the food supply chain
The Commission presented the outcome of its economic analysis to stakeholders, along with the options for improving market transparency in the food supply chain. The objective of the conference was to gather feedback from stakeholders before the next steps were taken.
- September 2018Expert group for horizontal questions concerning the CAP and civil dialogue group workshop
The Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development gathered EU countries’ delegates (Expert group for horizontal questions concerning the CAP) and stakeholder organisations (Civil dialogue group on the common agricultural policy) to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the current system of market transparency and to debate the need for improvements along the sectoral food supply chains.
- May 2018Joint research centre and DG Agriculture experts workshop
A workshop with academics, industry experts, and national and international organisations was organised by the Joint Research Centre (JRC) and the European Commission's Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development. The aim of the workshop was to assess the scope and nature of possible EU action to improve the functioning of sectoral food chains through increased market transparency.
- August 2017
The consultation on the initiative to improve the food supply chain included three EU surveys. All citizens and organisations were welcome to contribute to this consultation.
- July 2017
The inception impact assessment considered the possible responses the Commission could take in order to increase market transparency. It then considered the economic, social and cross-cutting issues that these possible responses may cause.
Agricultural markets task force
The market transparency regulation was a response to the recommendations of the agricultural markets task force, an independent expert group set up to consider ways to increase producer power in agri-food markets. It concluded that reducing the level of information imbalance in the supply chain would have a positive impact on competition, and especially, smaller producers.
Cooperation and expert advice
As part of the new regulation, the Commission will consult EU countries, stakeholders and independent experts to monitor the application of the regulation, best practices and new developments in the area of market transparency. It will also be discussed as part of the regular work of the committee for the common organisation of the agricultural markets.