Freshfel Headlines

Freshfel Headlines – number 4 / 2017, covering news from June and July 2017

Freshfel and Profel hold a successful first joint conference on 20 June in Brussels

On June 20, Freshfel, the European Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Association and PROFEL, the European Association of Fruit and Vegetable Processors, came together for a joint Annual Event in Brussels. By joining forces, the two associations were aiming at reinforcing the role, the image and the strengths of fruit and vegetables and highlighting how they are healthy and sustainable solutions for Europe’s food challenges.

200 delegates from the sector debated with key note speakers and policy representatives from the European Commission and European Parliament on new ideas and actions that could enhance the position of the sector and its products.

From the debate, it clearly appeared that fruit and vegetables have an important role to play for a healthy and sustainable diet of European consumers but also for other European priorities, namely on jobs and growth. Consequently, the fruit and vegetables are called to be at the centre of the debate for the future Common Agriculture Policy.

The event also explored how to better position fruit and vegetables in a very competitive food environment and how to build new opportunities resulting a/o from the vegan/vegetarian movement and how the sector should take the most of the new reality of social media.

The event concluded with a mutual commitment of Freshfel and Profel to continue highlighting the health and sustainable benefits of fruit and vegetables to European consumers and policy makers. This would appear to be a win-win solution in regard to improving health of the European consumers and also for addressing the commitments on sustainable goals for food production.

More about the event can be found here.

Freshfel trade meeting in Brussels

Freshfel held a combined trade meeting, integrating both its working groups on import and export in one session, to review common matters before the summer break. The meeting was held at the 11 July 2017 in Brussels. Among the topics discussed were current trade flows, ongoing free trade negotiations and their impact on SPS and custom matters. Further discussion have been held on the impact of the upcoming Brexit negotiation on the future fruit and vegetable trade with the U.K., which affects both export and imports. The afternoon session was dedicated to regulatory changes such as the ongoing plant health and the official control reform, certification matters and the reform of the current TRQ management system. Freshfel also welcomed three external guest: Ms. Julia Riess from Rewe explaining the current developments with regard to the Services directive reform and its positive impact on trade within the Single Market. Mr. Damian Kaminski, First Secretary of Trade at the EU Delegation in Delhi/India presented the work of the Delegation for the fruit and vegetable sector. And Mr. Gwilym Jones explained the aim and cooperation possibilities of the European Reconstruction and Development Bank for the fruit and vegetables industry.

Industry Advisory Group meeting on the progress of WTO/IPPC project “e-phyto” in Washington

WTO/IPPC are currently working on the development of an electronic phytosanitary certificate “ePhyto”, to facilitate the electronic exchange among countries. Countries, who already provide about an own electronic system, will be integrated via a transmission hub into the project. For countries, who have no system in place yet, a generic system will be developed, which allows least developed countries to generate “ePhyto’s” themselves and to improve their integration into global trade flows. Freshfel is member of the industry advisory group (IAG), which consist of various associations representing trade with plant products. The last meeting was held on Tuesday, 27 June, in Washington D.C. Members of the IAG have been discussing the current progress of the project, technical issues and industries’ needs as well as challenges regarding to funding. The first of the part of the pilot will take off in August 2017, integrating the piloting countries with systems already in place to the hub. Among the piloting countries are The Netherlands, the U.S., China and others. The second part of the pilot will prospectively start in March 2018. A second meeting, held in the Canadian embassy gave Freshfel and other IAG members the opportunity to present the benefits of the project for each plant products to other not-yet participating countries to the project.

Food Waste Platform Meeting

On 14 June 2017, Freshfel was present at the EU Platform on Food Losses and Food Waste. After a speech by Commission for Health and Food Safety Andriukaitis, DG SANTE gave an update on the Circular Economy Action Plan, indicating that the key deliverables were on track (Establishment of the platform, making it operational, setting up discussions on measurement methodology, drafting EU guidelines for the use of former foodstuff as feed, and date marking). Subsequently, the subgroups for food donation and food waste measurement presented their latest updates. The afternoon session focused on action and implementation of food waste prevention.

The Food Waste Platform has been set up by the European Commission in the framework of the Sustainable Development Goal on food waste and the Commission’s inclusion of this SDG in its Circular Economy package. Food waste, food losses and all sustainability topics related to this have been increasing in importance during the past years and as such Freshfel believed it useful and vital to be a member of such an EU Platform.

CAP: Have Your Say Conference

The European Commission launched a Public Consultation on Simplification and Modernisation of the Common Agricultural Policy in February. To present its results, it organised a conference on 7 July which Freshfel attended.

The most important challenges were identified as being achieving a fair standard of living for farmers, dealing with pressures on the environment and climate change, and tackling the lack of jobs and growth. Interesting observation was that the individuals not involved in farming in general estimate the CAP being less capable of addressing those challenges. Main problems and drivers were environmental pollution, bureaucracy, and large industry and lobbying. Greening and application procedures were generally identified as the most burdensome elements of the CAP. Its objectives were identified as being boosting investment and growth, mitigating and adapting to climate change, and strengthening the EU Single Market.

The Consultation, the Conference, and the Communication to be published by the end of this year, are all part of the run up to the CAP post-2020 discussions.

Freshfel contributed to the European Commission’s Public Consultation on Simplification and Modernisation of the CAP in February, highlighting the priority topics of the fruit and vegetable sector. Freshfel will continue to follow the policy developments on this matter. Freshfel’s position paper on the consultation is available to read here.

EUFRUIT Synthesis Report

EUFRUIT, the Horizon 2020 funded European network for fruit research sets out to bridge the gap between research outcomes and the actual implementation of those research results. Too often, research is duplicated due to a lack of communication between different institutes or research results remain on the shelves without reaching the right audience who could benefit from those outcomes. Freshfel is involved as a disseminator of the information, bridging the gap between the scientists and business operators, and gives input to the research consortium on what plays and what is considered as important from the field and the sector at large.

In particular, Freshfel is part of the Working Group on reducing pesticides during production phase to minimise residues on fruit and in the environment. As a result of the meeting in May and previous scanning of existing research, the Working Group released a synthesis report, giving an overview of the different alternative techniques to pesticides, some of which may already been used by growers, and others that are in the experimental phase. Freshfel will soon publish those reports on its website.

Workshop on “Accessing the U.K. now and after Brexit” during London Produce Show

To understand the full implication of the ongoing Brexit negotiations on the future fruit and vegetable trade, Freshfel took the opportunity to participate at the London Produce Show’s pre-conference on “Accessing the U.K. now and after Brexit.” The workshop was held on the 7 June 2017 in London. The program included speakers from Freshfel’s member FPC CEO Nigel Jenney, who was the main organizers of the workshop, DEFRA – the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs”, the Food Standards Agency and many other. The workshop discussed potential pitfalls of Brexit, such as the expected heavy constraints on logistics. Further, also opportunities such as investment in farming and increase of self-sufficiency of the U.K. have been debated in the meeting. Freshfel had the opportunity for an in-depth discussion on the most challenging matters such as customs, border procedures and certification matters.

Freshfel attends launch of #EUFarmRecipes Book

On the 29 June Freshfel attended the launch of the Copa-Cogeca #EUFarmRecipes book in Brussels. The #EUFarmRecipes book showcases recipes from across Europe, each with a different story, to increase awareness amongst consumers that farmers and their cooperatives are the first producers of their food in the supply chain.  The launch event of the book was attended by EU Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner Phil Hogan and MEP Clara Eugenia Aguilera Garcia along with stakeholders and representative from the EU agricultural sector. The #EUFarmRecipes book provides nutritional and delicious recipes accompanied by nutritional information about the products used in the recipes as well as information and traditions about the region where the recipe originated.

The full recipe book is available to read here.

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