Agriculture, Estonia, Markets and Companies

International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Monday, 16.09.2019, 09:44

Estonian Agricultural Board calls for tougher punishments for cheating at markets

BC, Tallinn, 19.08.2019.Print version
Violations committed by sellers of fresh fruits and vegetables at stalls and farmers markets should get tougher punishments, participants in a roundtable held at the Estonian Agricultural Board said LETA/BNS.

The roundtable brought together representatives from the ministry of Rural Affairs, the Veterinary and Food Authority, the Estonian Gardening Association, the Estonian Farmers Federation and the Estonian Agricultural Research Center. 

The participants noted that the punishments currently meted out for violations are not sufficient. Violations must be punished with fines, and sufficiently big fines, for cheating to not pay. Also the state is foregoing revenue at markets. Documents that everyone can draw up in accordance with their own wish are not a tool for supervision, spokespeople for the Estonian Agricultural Board said.

It was found that prompt exchanges of information among the parties are necessary to establish when the motivation to cheat consumers when it comes to the origin of foodstuffs is the highest, as each season is different. Cooperation between the oversight institutions and the state is important in order for the state to be able to smartly direct supervision.

"The problems are known to us, and all the parties involved have been pointing attention to them for a longer time. The goal is to find what else can be done to improve the situation. How to achieve that cheating wasn't beneficial business-wise and perpetrators were brought to responsibility," the director general of the Agricultural Board, Egon Palts, said. 

Marko Gorban, deputy secretary general of the Ministry of Rural Affairs, described consumer confidence in the purchase of food made in Estonia as very important and said that various measures are being pondered for ensuring this, including the possibility of more effective application of existing oversight measures and the need for the introduction of additional sanctions weighed. Also examined are various scientific methods for determining the origin of fruits and vegetables.

Gorban also emphasized the role of self-regulation of producers, which requires greater amounts of cooperation than has been the case to date.

"It is important to chart what can be done by the state and what by the producer in order for dishonest traders to be banished from markets," said the manager of the Estonian Gardening Association, Raimond Strastin.

The meeting is to be followed by the preparation of an action plan setting out specific activities, the parties to perform them, as well as deadlines.

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