German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her Federal Minister of Agriculture, Julia Klöckner, have accused two German supermarket chains of exercising "unfair competition" and harming agricultural producers because of their decision to lower the price of the fruits and vegetables they sell at the end of 2019.
This situation has affected Ecuadorian banana exporters, since the drop in the price of the banana box to between 0.80 and 1 dollar carried out by German retailers Aldi and Lidl has harmed producers and reduced the level of exports to that market, as denounced by the Banana Marketing and Export Association of Ecuador (Acorbanec).
The German government said that these practices affect fruit and vegetable suppliers in Germany itself.
Last week, Merkel held a meeting with supermarkets, the rest of the commercial sector and the industry. A statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ecuador said that politicians put the blame of the pricing on retailers. “Permanent low prices for some foods, with which customers are attracted to stores, are a hurdle for the appreciation of food. Ultimately, aggressive prices are also set at the expense of producers.”
According to Julia Klöckner, “trade is based on competition; however, this should not be carried out unilaterally at the expense of the producers. Having food sold for a few cents and requiring increasingly high standards cannot go hand in hand.”
The official reported that agricultural suppliers are exposed to unfair business practices due to the current market imbalance. "The four largest retail chains have great power, controlling over 85% of the market."