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FOOD SUPPLY CHAIN RELATIONSHIPS OMBUDSMAN

Mr Jože Podgoršek PhD

On 1 March 2015, the Government of the Republic of Slovenia designated the first Food Supply Chain Relationships Ombudsman, namely a person who enjoys a good professional and moral reputation and the support of stakeholders in the food supply chain. 

 

Dr Jože Podgoršek is not a member of the management or supervisory body of a company dealing with food production, processing, distribution or sales and has no function in a state authority, a body of a political party or a body of trade union and has more than ten years of experience in the area of the production, processing, distribution and sales of foodstuffs. 

 

The Ombudsman is independent and autonomous in his work; the material and financial resources for the operation of the Ombudsman are provided by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food. Detailed conditions for the functioning and financing of the Food Supply Chain Relationships Ombudsman are laid down in the Decree on the Functioning and Financing of the Food Supply Chain Relationships Ombudsman (Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia No. 50/14 - available only in Slovene language).

 

Contact

 

websiten: www.varuhverigehrane.si

 

dr. Jože  Podgoršek, Food Supply Chain Relationships Ombudsman 

Dunajska 22

SI - 1000 Ljubljana

 

every Tuesday from 13. to 17. ure

Office No. 410 on the fourth floor 

  

tel.: 00386 1 478 9087

GSM: 00386 41 310 372

e-pošta: joze.podgorsek(at)gov.si  

Vision...

 

As the Food Supply Chain Relationships Ombudsman, I will strive to pursue the basic vision of maintaining a sustainable food chain. Hence, I will encourage all partners to develop good partner relations in their mutual business activities. Understanding that all partners and stakeholders in the food supply chain are needed will help ensure that every stakeholder takes care of the previous and/or the next link in the food chain. I will particularly focus on ensuring economic stability and development. In this process, we need to raise the awareness among all stakeholders in the food supply chain – from farmers, cooperatives, the food processing industry, wholesalers, and retailers, to consumers – that if we are to ensure food security, we need a vital and evolving food chain, where none of the links should fail and/or can be replaced. 

  

In this context, I will pursue the objective of fair relationships with a view to establishing a fair relationship between the stakeholders in the food value chain and in the food supply chain. In promoting fair relationships, I will, first and foremost, advocate compliance with legislative provisions, including a ban on mandatory rebates on the invoices of suppliers and the observance of payment deadlines. Furthermore, I will encourage all actors involved in the food chain to respect Slovenian particularities compared to countries with developed agriculture. In this sense, we should recognise the crop/product value as regards Slovenian producers and the food processing industry. And, above all, we cannot allow ourselves to think of making our own profits at the expense of financially destroying our partners. 

  

In promoting fair relationships, I will also defend moral principles in drawing up contracts between purchasers and sellers and the principles of fair profit margins in the value chain. Among the moral principles, I would like to underline the culture of late payment, which often illegally extends payment deadlines for the goods supplied. In considering the principle of fair profit margins, we will, together with agrarian economists, calculate and estimate the fair profit margin for each stakeholder in the value chain so that it will enable stakeholders to cover all costs and extended reproduction. 

  

In my work I will encourage, in accordance with the Agriculture Act and the Trade Act, such marketing channels and practices that benefit all stakeholders and, ultimately, food purchasers. By establishing a fair relationship between the stakeholders, I expect lower retail food prices for end users and fair prices for food producers and processors. In the European area, it is necessary to find good practice examples of different marketing channels and approaches and to introduce them into the Slovenian market. To this end, we will examine legislative frameworks and propose eventual amendments allowing for a different manner of food marketing.”