Examining costs farmers face

Competition Commission to probe profit margins throughout the value chain affecting prices

Examining costs farmers face

The Competition Commission is shifting from just checking the course of prices from producers to retailers, into probing the entire value chain, starting from the costs that farmers face.

Therefore beyond producer, trader and shelf prices, the market watchdog is also about to start investigating the stores selling agricultural supplies, pesticides, fertilizers, animal feed, seeds and the main factors of production costs in the primary sector in general.

Already the regulator has announced it is starting to map the conditions of competition in the veterinary medicinal products sector, which includes any medicinal product intended for administration to animals for preventive, therapeutic or diagnostic purposes and any medicated premixture and medicated animal feed. The trigger for this decision was the observed increase in cost indicators in the livestock sector in recent years and the impact this increase has on the value chain of food production from animal products.

Prices in the so-called complex feed prices in 2023 in Greece recorded an increase of 33% compared to 2020, while overall in feed the increase was 38.13%. This is a high increase, but lower than that recorded in the same period at the EU-27 average level (44.66%).

Similar research is expected to be carried out in other branches of the basic inputs in agriculture and animal husbandry, where very significant price increases have also been recorded in recent years, such as fertilizers, whose prices in 2023 were 71.55% higher compared to with 2020.

Another reason why input costs have come under the microscope of the Competition Commission is because although the revaluations of these products were strong both in Greece and in the rest of the European Union, mainly in 2022, the de-escalation or rather the slowing down of the rate of price increase was larger in the EU compared to Greece. Therefore, while in 2023 the general index of input prices in the EU decreased by 0.92% compared to 2022, in Greece it increased by 1.60%.

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