Freshfel Headlines October – November 2016
Common workshop with CIQA: Understanding the dynamics of European and Chinese fruit and vegetable trade
Freshfel and the Chinese Inspection and Quarantine Association (CIQA) have organized a common workshop with the title “Understanding the dynamics of European and Chinese fruit and vegetable trade”. The workshop took place at the 30th of October 2016 in Beijing in the margins of the annual China fruit and vegetable fair at the 31st of October and 1st of November. The aim of the workshop has been to create a common understanding of each other’s market access conditions with regard to plant health, food safety and quality, customs and general market dynamics and conditions. To enable an all-encompassing review of the current market dynamics, the agenda has been designed with speakers from the public and the private sector. The perspective of the Chinese fruit and vegetable sector have been presented by Mr. Ge Zhirong, President of CIQA, Mr. Wu Hao, Director at AQSIQ and Ms. Li Li from the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture. The European perspective has been presented by Mr. Jerome Lepeintre, the Minister Counsellor for Health and Food Safety at the Delegation of the EU to China and Mongolia as well as Freshfel General Delegate Philippe Binard and trade policy advisor Nelli Hajdu. The meeting gave further opportunity to Freshfel members from various EU-MS as well as to Chinese exporters to present best practices as well as to discuss current challenges with regard to mutual market access conditions.
Freshfel & WAPA presentation at Interpera
A joint presentation was given at the Interpera conference, which took place from 16-18 November in South Africa. The presentation made by Freshfel & WAPA focused on production and trade trends from a global perspective. World production of pears has gradually increased, the latest FAO data from 2014 estimate the worldwide production at 25.9 mil T. The EU pear production is forecasted at 2.17 mil T for the 2016 harvest and the main EU producers are IT, NL, BE, ES, FR & PT. Total trade worldwide in 2015 was approximately 2.7 mil T of pears. Other presentations during the conference gave more details regarding some of the producers as well as other trade trends for the specific countries. Given that the host-country was South Africa, there was a clear focus on the South African production and their trade developments. All the presentations can be found here.
Freshfel‘s participation to Business Delegation of Commissioner Hogan in Vietnam, Singapore & Indonesia
Freshfel General Delegate and several Freshfel Members participated to the recent business delegation accompanying Commissioner Hogan in South East Asia. The business trip was the opportunity to look at new market opportunities to diversify EU exports of fresh produce in the region and address pending market access hurdles at a time that Free Trade Agreements are being finalized with Vietnam, Singapore and Indonesia. The current exports of fresh fruit and vegetables to the region remains limited, but is growing. There is a potential for market development given the complementary of the EU fresh produce assortments with the production of Vietnam and Indonesia. The priorities for fresh produce included the finalization of workable protocols in Vietnam for several fruit and vegetables originating in different member states, as well as addressing market access hurdles in Indonesia (lab certification, country recognition, tariff rate quota management). Freshfel’s General Delegate presented the quality assets of EU fresh produce in a business forum in Vietnam together with Inge Ribbens from Fresh Produce Center of The Netherlands, while Salvo Laudani also presented views from the European fruit sector in the Indonesian business forum. A breakfast between Commissioner Hogan and the fresh produce sector was also a good opportunity to share with the Commissioner perspectives and concerns of the sector.
Freshfel’s involvement in Horizon2020 projects: Fresh-Demo, EUFRUIT & EuroMix
Freshfel is currently involved in three Horizon2020 projects, FRESH-DEMO, EUFRUIT and Euromix, for which several events took place over the last two months. FRESH-DEMO, which finishes in February 2017, had a stand at FruitAttraction in Madrid and one of the consortium partners, BioAzul, gave a demonstration workshop, called ‘Advantages and usefulness of ultrasonic humidification for fresh products’. Towards the end of October, a technical meeting took place in Athens, organised by the Greek partners of the consortium, Polypan. As the project enters its final stage, the consortium discussed the past milestones and deliverables, and identified the final steps to be taken in the last months. Freshfel presented its different dissemination actions.
EUFRUIT held its first general assembly and executive board meeting at the beginning of November during which an overview was given of the first half year of dissemination and knowledge gathering efforts were considered. Annette Scheegans, research programme officer at DG AGRI, gave a presentation about ‘practice abstracts’, a tool for end-user communication.
Euromix, lastly, held its general assembly and board meeting in Tarragona during the beginning of November. The consortium, which counts over 60 members, gathered for individual work package meetings, during which the individual partners reviewed the progress of the last 6 months and looked ahead for the upcoming half year. The individual work packages reported back to the general assembly for discussion.
Final Strategic Innovation and Research Agenda published
At the end of October, Freshfel, in coordination with AREFLH, EUFRIN and EUVRIN, published an updated version of the Strategic Innovation and Research Agenda (SIRA) and handed it to the European Commission, upon receiving their positive feedback. The SIRA presents the weaknesses and gaps in the fruit and vegetable industry, identifying the research and innovation needs along the whole supply chain, from challenges in production over storage, handling, distribution to consumer issues. The aim of the document is to have an impact on the research topics proposed in the new work programme for 2018-2020.
Freshfel ‘s takes part to the Agrioutlook conference
Every year, the European Commission is releasing an outlook for the main agriculture markets, namely cereals , meat and dairy products. For the first time this year, DG AGRI is keen to include horticulture products in the process including wine, olives and fruit and vegetables. Freshfel is associated in this process. In a conference organized end of October, a first preview of such an outlook took place, Ad Klaasen (Dutch Produce Association), presented the challenges of forecasting data for vegetables with a focus on tomatoes and Philippe Binard (Freshfel Europe) the outlook for fresh fruit with a focus on apples. Early December, the main outlook conference will present the main expected trends, with more input from Freshfel, in particular on EU export and consumption trends.
Freshfel ‘s chair of Freshfel Export Committee address the DG Trade SPS Market Access WG
On 18 November, Mr Paco Borras had the opportunities to present the views of the fresh produce sector in regard to the state of play of EU fresh produce exports to third countries market. The presentation looked at the state of play two years after the Russia embargo and the effort of the sector to reposition exports to new destination. The presentation made a number of suggestion about how to best take the benefit of the concept of the “EU as a Single Entity” and how increased cooperation under the auspices of the EU could assit the efforts of Member States in opening new market and address the lack of reciprocity that are often noted in the fresh produce sector.
Freshfel Import Meeting
Freshfel’s Import Division has met in mid-November to discuss the latest policy developments. The meeting reviewed the current import trade flows into the European Union in context of current free trade negotiations and their impact on import developments. Further, food safety and plant health as well as in particular the revision of the Official Control legislation will have an impact on fresh producers import condition. With that regard, 2016 has also been a year of changes for custom procedures and requirements such as the coming into force of the new Union Custom Code, the requirement of e-certification for organic or the new SOLAS regulation on Container Weight Verification. A first stock holding and mid-season review about the functioning took place during the meeting.
Meeting with MEP’s to exchange on CETA
In the run-up of the signature of the provisional agreement with Canada at the last weekend of October 2016, debates about scope, benefits and potential disadvantages of the new agreement have been vividly discussed in Brussels. Freshfel has participated to a lunch debate at the European Parliament, initiated by CELCAA, the European Liaison Committee for the Agricultural and Agri-Food Trade. The aim of the meeting has been, to assess the potential impact of CETA on the agri-food trade. The lunch has been hosted by MEP Artis Pabriks, the rapporteur for the CETA agreement. Presentations have been given by Daniel Costello, Ambassador of Canada to the European Union, MEP Paolo De Castro as well as from various representatives of the agri-food chain. The EU fresh produce exports to Canada have positively profiting from the dynamics of trade negotiations in the past years. The conclusion of the agreement could have further positive effects on the fresh produce trade vice versa.
Freshfel Sustainability meeting
Freshfel hosted a separate meeting on sustainability on Tuesday 25 October. The overarching topic of ‘sustainability’has gained increasing importance over the last years. Given that sustainability covers a wide array of topics, ranging from environment, social matters, as well as economic matters, Freshfel decided to host a separate meeting on sustainability to:
- Have a dedicated platform for the members to exchange on these topics from a supply chain perspective.
- Gain insights from the members on the complex and diversified topics related to sustainability.
- Seek direction for the Association and identify, as appropriate, actions needed on regulatory or non-regulatory matters as well as possible angles on communication.
- Share expertise, knowledge and best practices.
Freshfel participation in SUSFANS project on food and nutrition security
Freshfel took part in the SUSFANS 2nd Stakeholder Core Group Workshop in October in Brussels. The project, also funded under the Horizon2020 programme, wants to make a scientific contribution to achieve sustainable food and nutrition security in the EU. Freshfel, although not a member of the project’s consortium, was one of the industry stakeholders invited to give input and feedback on the presented conceptual framework and the case studies. One of the proposed case studies was on innovation pathways from consumer and supply-chain perspectives towards increased share of fruits and vegetables in the diet. Preliminary results were presented on consumer behaviour analysis, metrics for dietary adequacy and environmental sustainability, and reviews of existing food system scenarios.