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World Farmers’ Congress adopts agriculture concentration remedies

(Sunday, June 6, 2004 -- CropChoice news) -- From a news release:
WASHINGTON (June 4, 2004) -- Farmers from 70 countries attending the International Federation of Agricultural Producers (IFAP) World Farmers’ Congress in Washington, D.C., this week adopted recommendations to stop the accelerated march toward a vertically and horizontally integrated agricultural production system.

Dave Frederickson, National Farmers Union president and host to the World Farmers’ Congress, said the inadequacy of current competition rules is one of the most pressing issues facing farmers across the globe. “Independent agricultural producers cannot succeed without protection from unfair, anti-competitive practices,” Frederickson said. “This is evidenced by the sharp decline in the number of family farmers in the past decade and the increasing trend toward horizontal and vertical concentration in the agricultural and food sectors.”

The U.S. farm leader said he and other representatives of IFAP countries believe concentration in food production, processing and retail could be turned around with enforcement of antitrust and competition laws, a strengthened regulatory system, increased protection of consumers and revitalization of independently owned businesses and competitive markets. Specifically, the IFAP countries adopted resolutions to collect and publicize concentration information and require government anti-trust agencies to require economic impact statements of proposed mergers and joint ventures. IFAP also supports establishing a level of concentration that triggers a presumption of a violation of antitrust law to make it easier for enforcement agencies to prevent high levels of concentration.

The farmers passed resolutions to limit packer ownership of livestock and control of production by non-farmer-owned corporations and supported family farm contract producers and policies that enhance fairness and provide producers protection in their agricultural production contracts. It also supports family farm contract producers.

French farmer and IFAP Executive Committee member Luc Guyau said another solution was to strengthen and adapt farmers’ economic organization. The IFAP farmers adopted several recommendations relating to economic producer organizations (EPO). These include providing special status, tax regulations, training, access to funding, research and development, appropriate legislative modifications with farmer input, and access to fundamental services in rural areas for EPOs. IFAP also proposed further development of farmer-owned cooperatives and marketing boards.

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The IFAP WFC 2004 is hosted by the National Farmers Union of the USA.

IFAP is the world farmers’ organisation representing over 500 million farm families grouped in 100 national organisations in 70 countries. It is a global network in which farmers from industrialised and developing countries exchange concerns and set common priorities. IFAP advocates farmers’ interests at the international level since 1946 and has General Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

NFU Contact: Laura Johnston, Director of Communications, 202-314-3104,

IFAP Contact: Julie Emond, Communications Coordinator,