The Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (ACM) suspects that large traders in the agricultural sector have made prohibited price agreements about the purchase price they pay farmers. As a result, the regulator has raided various traders.
There may be cartel formation, in which farmers are disadvantaged because they receive a lower price for their products. Traders would have coordinated the purchase price.
The ACM reports on Monday that it will be investigated in the coming period whether the Competition Act has indeed been violated. If this is the case, sanctions may be imposed on parties that have made price agreements.
The regulator also received signals of "other possible violations of the Competition Act in the agricultural sector". They are also being investigated.
In addition, research is being conducted into price structure in the agricultural sector. "The road that our food travels from farmer to plate has many links. The monitor will show for a number of products per link what price companies paid for purchasing a product and what their selling price is," according to the ACM.
The regulator calls on people to report suspicions of price agreements. You can also do this anonymously.