The Spanish government is to open an investigation into claims of abusive practices by retailers following sharp falls in vegetable prices at the start of this year.
It follows a complaint filed last week by agricultural union Asaja-Almería after prices dropped by 85 per cent in weeks two and three. The union claims the decrease was not justified as it did not take into account the big fall in production during those weeks and was not matched by a corresponding fall in consumer prices.
José Miguel Herrero of the Agrifood Information and Control Agency (AICA) said the complaint had been passed to the ministry, who “is already analysing the behaviour and evolution of the vegetable market to see if there has been any abusive practices or breach of the law”.
Asaja said the investigation was an important step in finding an explanation for what happened, particularly whether the supermarkets cancelled orders in order to cause prices to fall, while at the same time raising prices to provoke a slowdown in demand.
“In the case of any irregularity being detected, the appropriate action must be taken so that we can end the abuse and unfair practices that harm producers,” said Francisco Vargas Viñolo, president of Asaja-Almería.
The union is calling for closer collaboration in the supply chain in order to dismantle the pressure exerted by the retailers and build relationships based on “reciprocity, transparency, good commercial practices and sustainability”.