Merkel calls for ‘fair relations’ between German retail and farmers

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday called for retailers to have a fair commercial relationship with farmers, who have protested about meat and other food being sold at bargain prices by supermarkets.

There is a joint interest in having a strong regional supply, she said at a meeting in Berlin with retail and food industry representatives.

She ruled out state-imposed minimum prices, but said politicians are aiming for “fair relations” between the different actors in the market. She added that the focus is on selling good food and ensuring that farmers earn “sufficiently.”

Monday’s meeting with associations and representatives of supermarket chains had been announced back in December, following an “agricultural summit” that Merkel held with farmers after thousands of them demonstrated in Berlin.

Farming representatives have been protesting against new environmental regulations, but also supermarkets’ low-price offers on food.

Merkel pointed to an “increased awareness” regarding quality and environmental regulations, which she said are reasonable and right, but also have their price.

She noted that further dialogue will be needed with the middlemen between farmers and retailers, such as the food industry, bulk purchasers, dairy factories or meat processors.

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