Freshfel Headlines

Freshfel Headlines – Number 6, 2019 

Freshfel Europe launches 2019-2024 priorities in the European Parliament 

On 3 December 2019 Freshfel Europe called for a fresh fruit and vegetables-in-all-policies approach in its presentation of its 2019-2024 priorities paper for the EU institutions ‘Fresh Fruit & Vegetables for Europe’s Future’ in the European Parliament. Freshfel Europe asked policy makers to help stimulate a higher level of fresh fruit and vegetable consumption as part of an integral shift to a low environmental impact plant-based diet to protect the planet and citizens’ health. Freshfel Europe indicated that this could only be achieved through increased support for the sector in the policy-making agenda over the next five years across Europe and at all levels of government in conjunction with sector initiatives.

MEP Herbert Dorfmann opened the cocktail reception in the European Parliament, followed by an address to participants by Freshfel Europe President Stephan Weist. Freshfel Europe General Delegate Philippe Binard gave a presentation to explain the need for policy makers to help better position the fresh fruit and vegetable sector to achieve forward-thinking coherent policy that will future-proof our planet and meet consumers’ expectations now and into 2030. The cocktail reception was attended by MEPs working on agriculture, trade and environment topics as well as high level European Commission officials.

Freshfel Europe’s ‘Fresh Fruit & Vegetables for Europe’s Future’ paper outlines the role of the sector in significantly contributing to a low-environmental impact future for Europe and the good health of European consumers. The paper details specific policy areas to tackle over the next five years, covering the CAP, intra-EU and global trade, the supply chain, circular economy, plant health, food safety, digitalization and health policy, to ensure that Europe is a global leader achieving a triple-win for the environment, the economy and consumer health. Freshfel Europe’s full paper ‘Fresh Fruit & Vegetables for Europe’s Future’ can be downloaded from the Freshfel Europe website here. More information about the event is available here.

    Freshfel Europe launches Consumption Monitor 2019 

    Freshfel Europe’s latest edition of its Consumption Monitor, published on 25 November 2019, shows that since 2013 EU consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables has very slowly picked up again after a noticeable decreasing trend since the turn of the century. The data in the Consumption Monitor, which analyses the production, trade, supply and consumption trends of the EU-28 in 2017 compared to the average of the previous 5 years (2012-2016), show that consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables in the EU-28 stands at 348 grams per capita per day. This represents a slight decrease of 1,1% compared to 2016 but is an increase of 2,4% compared to the average of the previous five years (2012-2016). Despite this, the data demonstrate a very slight decrease again from 2016 to 2017 and the European aggregate still remains below the WHO consumption recommendation of at least 400 grams per capita per day.

    The 148-page 2019 Consumption Monitor is a service offered to Freshfel Europe’s members, but can be purchased by non-members at a rate of EUR 1.000. More information about the 2019 Consumption Monitor is available on the Freshfel Europe website.

    Freshfel Europe Board reviews European Commission’s new priorities

    The Freshfel Europe Board met in Brussels on 2 December 2019 under the chair of Stephan Weist, President of Freshfel Europe. The Board reviewed the new priorities set by the new European Commission, which took function on 1 December 2019. Of particular relevance for the fruit and vegetables sector are the priorities falling under the competence of Commissioners Frans Timmermans, Phil Hogan, Janusz Wojciechowski and Stella Kyriakidou. The main issues discussed included the new Farm to Fork strategy and other food and plant safety matters, the Green Deal, the CAP reform and the long term vision for agricultural production and European fruit and vegetable production. The future expectations for the European international trade policy was also discussed.  The priorities of Freshfel Europe for the European Commission for the next five years were included in a paper presented at an event hosted by MEP Herbert Dorfmann in the European Parliament the same day.

    Freshfel Europe holds Food Quality and Sustainability Working Groups

    On the 3 December 2019 Freshfel Europe held its Sustainability Working Group in Brussels. The meeting kicked-off with presentations of the new European Commission priorities of the European Green Deal and the envisaged ‘Farm to Fork’ strategy by Freshfel Europe Policy Advisor Nicola Pisano. Following this a representative of the SAI Platform introduced Freshfel members to their work and the morning session was concluded with a discussion on EU plastics policy. The afternoon session focused on new Flemish fruit sticker legislation with guest speakers from the European Commission and the European Compost Network. This was followed by an overview of Freshfel Europe’s recent work on food loss and food waste in collaboration with the European Commission, the UNECE and FAO. 

    On 4 December Freshfel Europe held its biannual Food Quality Working Group meeting in Brussels. A full day working group meeting was composed of Freshfel member representatives from across the fresh produce supply chain. The event was also attended by the delegates from the European Commission who provided the participants with updates on organic legislation, ongoing discussions between the EU and South Korea regarding their new legislation on food safety and the policy developments with regard to plant protection products. Animated discussions between members as well as with the European Commission on a large variety of topics gave the Freshfel Secretariat direction for 2020.

    ‘Follow me to be healthy with Europe’ campaign present at Paris Manga & Sci-Fi Show 

    On Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 October 2019 the ‘Follow me to be Healthy with Europe’ campaign team attended the Paris Manga & Sci-Fi Show to meet young people and introduce them to the #400gChallenge. During the two days, visitors were invited to spin the wheel of super-powers, and find out which vitamin, nutrient or mineral could boost their ability, and in which fruit and vegetable they could find them! A photobooth was also installed on the stand, allowing cosplayers to get a souvenir from their visit! Finally, all stand visitors were handed out goodies from the campaign as well as fresh fruit to help them take on the #400gChallenge right away. The event was a great success with more than 1,000 visitors coming to the campaign stand! Visit the campaign website for more information.

    Freshfel Europe takes part in EU-Thailand Seminar on Phytosanitary Controls and Certification Systems

    On 16 October 2019 Freshfel Europe Trade Policy Advisor Natalia Santos-Garcia Bernabe participated in the EU-Thailand Seminar on Phytosanitary Controls and Certification Systems in Bangkok. The initiative is the first of a series of similar workshops the European Commission plans to sponsor in Asian countries to promote European fruit and vegetables exports. The seminar included presentations on the multilateral framework for trade in plants and plant products, individual EU Member States’ phytosanitary and controls systems, and the EU approach to plant health. On the Thai side, the presentation by the Ministry of Agriculture outlined their approach to plant health, import conditions and procedures, and required inspections and clearance for plant products. In the roundtable discussion panel Freshfel Europe raised the European sector’s concerns when it comes to market access and welcomed the positive steps taken by Thai authorities in recent months, particularly to open the market to European apples.

    Freshfel Europe builds action plan for the Fruit and Vegetable Wholesale Manifesto

    During Fruit Attraction in Madrid Freshfel Europe hosted a meeting to discuss the activities of the wholesalers of fruit and vegetables. To highlight the value of wholesale businesses an infographic will be prepared, while in the coming months different specific aspects will be discussed and best practices will be exchanged on important matters of high relevance for wholesalers. This includes logistics to final customers, packaging, efficiency with due consideration of wholesale sales patterns, attractiveness of wholesale business especially regarding working hours, and quality labels for wholesale services.

    Recommendations for action for the prevention of food waste prepared by Freshfel Europe

    Over the last two months Freshfel Europe has been working with the European Commission and other members of the EU Platform on Food Loss and Food Waste to draft recommendations for action for the prevention of food waste.  The recommendations paper will be a compilation or recommendations from different stages of the food supply chain including primary production, manufacturing, retail, hospitality/food service, consumer level and food donation. Before a Platform-wide consultation was held to validate the recommendations, Freshfel Europe represented by Policy Advisory Nicola Pisano attended a European Commission workshop on 30 September 2019 to brainstorm and reflect on the most important recommendations to include for each stage. The final recommendations will be presented at the Platform meeting next week on 12 December 2019.

    Freshfel Europe prepares members for Official Control Directive 2017/625 and Plant Health Directive 2016/2031

    The new Official Control Directive 2017/625 and the Plant Health Directive 2016/2031 will come into force on the 14 December 2019 with many administrative changes for the fruit and vegetable sector. Freshfel Europe organised an ad-hoc technical working group at the 12 November 2019 in Brussels to ensure a smooth implementation of the new rules with regard to the usage of phytosanitary certificates, the expansion of the usage of CHED-PP and CHED-D for the sector as well as the transition into a digital control and monitoring system IMSOC. The meeting was supported by European Commission DG Santé officials from the plant health, multilateral relations and the TRACES department. The meeting gave an overview of the most relevant technical and administrative changes as well as on pending parts of the reform. Freshfel Europe members were provided with a dedicated technical fact sheet to ensure readiness at the implementation date.

    Workshop on producers’ organisations and operational programmes

    In cooperation between Freshfel European and its member Unia Owocowa, as well as with the support of ANPP (France) and Assomela (Italy) a workshop was organized in Warsaw to share experiences on the functioning and priorities set for operational programmes of producers’ organizations. The level of uptake of producers’ organizations with operational programmes remains low in Poland. This workshop served as an opportunity to share best practices between experts from Poland, Italy and France. The Polish Minister of Agriculture, the Ministry and Agency running programmes in Poland as well as the European Commission DG Agri Head of Unit for Horticulture, Wine and Olive Oil were also contributed to the input and discussion of this successful workshop

    Freshfel Europe participates in Dutch Fresh Produce event with EU Parliamentarians

    On 19 November 2019 Freshfel Europe Trade Policy Advisor Natalia Santos-Garcia Bernabe participated in the Meet & Greet Trade Event organised by the Dutch Fresh Produce Centre with EU MEPs. The conference revised the challenges around the future of global trade relations in fresh produce, the availability of fresh produce and the importance of fruit and vegetables trade for developing countries. During the event, Freshfel Europe provided a broad picture of the state of affairs for imports of F&V into the EU, which have shown consistent growth over the past years. Whilst Central and South American countries still represent more than half of the EU’s supply, Africa’s exports of F&V to the EU have registered a significant growth (+38% in the past 8 years), a sign that EU relations with our neighbour continent are in good shape. However as reminded by other speakers in the event, links with African partners should continue to be promoted, particularly in the light of current limitations due to logistical and infrastructure challenges.

    Freshfel Europe represents EU fruit and vegetable sector at DG AGRI SPS Seminar in India

    Freshfel Europe General Delegate Philippe Binard represented the European Fruit and Vegetables sector at the EU Seminar on Food Standards, Farming Policy and Trade organized by DG AGRI in Delhi on 10 and 11 October 2019. The seminar highlighted the value and security provided by EU food and plant safety policy, granting high level guarantees for customers in the EU but also for those in third countries trading European produce.

    SPS aspects were also tackled, not only at external borders but also between Indian state borders. The seminar was useful to prove the efficiency of the EU harmonized SPS system. Alternatives to methybromide were also discussed during this two day seminar. As it was the case in previous similar seminars, Freshfel Europe animated a dedicated workshop for fruit and vegetables with participation from Indian fruit and vegetables importers and traders

    Freshfel Europe discusses fruit and vegetable e-Commerce at OECD fruit and vegetable scheme meeting

    Freshfel Europe and the OECD are currently conducting an examination of the current online-sales of fruit and vegetables in Europe. Freshfel Europe was invited to present the preliminary results of the study during the OECD Fruit and Vegetable Scheme meeting on the 4 December 2019 in Paris. The meeting was attended by governmental representatives from several OECD member countries in charge of fruit and vegetable marketing standards and their control. In particular, fruit and vegetable online sales poses specific challenges to inspection bodies. The first results of the study, conducted by Freshfel Europe’s Director of Trade Policy and Business Development Nelli Hajdu,  confirm that there is not only a huge fragmentation and diversity within the online sales market, but also strong national differences in market size and structure. The study is currently in review and will be published in February 2020.

    Freshfel Europe participates in debate with Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis

    In September Eglė Baecke, Freshfel Europe Director for Food Quality, participated in the debate “The EU Towards Global Food 2050: Be Part of the Change” organised by the Emilia-Romagna Region (Italy) Delegation to the EU. This was a timely opportunity to discuss European achievements and assess current and future perspectives with the Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis. During his speech the Commissioner highlighted the main achievements of DG Santé during the last five years. Freshfel Europe also raise a question regarding the ‘zero-pollution’ ambition of the new Commission and whether this ambition will lead to the removal of chemical active substances. The Commissioner responded by stressing that the use of chemical substances could be reduced by: imposing quicker authorisations of bio-pesticides, approving a greater number of low risk active substances, verifying the law with regard new breading techniques and genetically modified organisms and by working together with the EU Member States on the principal of mutual recognition.

    Annual POMATEC of Afrucat

    The XX POMATEC took place in Girona province on 29 November 2019 gathering leading apple and pear producers and shippers/exporters of Catalonia. The event was the opportunity to discuss several topical issues, including changing consumer attitudes to sustainable diet, the impact of climate change for the production of apples and pears and the opportunities to engage in Research and Innovation as well as the market outlook for apples. Freshfel General Delegate Philippe Binard presented the latest European trends for the apple market, including updated data from Prognosfruit, and the first stocks outlook. Mr Binard also participated in the panel discussion on climate change

    Simona Rubbi re-elected Vice President of European Civil Dialogue Group Quality and Promotion

    Representing Freshfel Europe, Simona Rubbi (CSO Italy) was re-elected as Vice President of the European Commission Civil Dialogue Group (CDG) Quality and Promotion on 6 December. The CDG is closely follows the policy on quality such as marketing standards, PGI and PDO policy, voluntary certification, European promotion policy, the annual work programme priorities for promotion and the Commission own initiative campaigns. At the last meeting, Simona Rubbi presented to the CDG and later on to the Expert Group of Member States a comparative review of procedures for multi and simple promotion projects.

    CEFTA-Regional Business Advisory Group Meeting in Podgorica, Montenegro 

    In the course of 2018/2019 Freshfel Europe has been accompanying the GIZ project on ‘Trade Facilitation in the CEFTA project’ supported by European Union funds in light of future enlargement. Freshfel Europe’s Director of Trade Policy Nelli Hajdu has been supporting the development of regional interest representation structures among fruit and vegetable traders in the region as well as in supporting the process of raising trade barriers in the region in particular with regard to border control operations. The meeting of the Regional Business Advisory Group (RBAG) in Podogorica/Montenegro at the 28 October 2019 marked the preliminary finalisation of the GIZ project. The meeting was dedicated to discussing the future work of the RBAG as well as in preparation of the presentation to be held by RBAG members during the CEFTA committee week in Tirana/Albania in the last week of November 2019.

    Freshfel Europe collaborates with World Bank to examine trade barriers for perishable trade at border 

    With the coming into force of the Trade Facilitation Agreement in 2017 new attention was drawn to the importance of perishable trade in contributing to the achievement of the SDGS, but also with regard to potential trade hurdles perishable trade is still facing at border control operations. Consequently the World Bank in collaboration with Freshfel Europe and Union Fleurs has developed a survey which aims to quantify the costs of border control interceptions and identify hot spots of trade barriers in global perishable trade. The results of the survey will be used to gain concrete knowledge on losses and to identify future projects to tackle trade barriers with regard to perishable trade.

    Freshfel Europe to coordinate new World Citrus Organisation

    On 22 October 2019 the newly founded World Citrus Organisation (WCO) was officially launched at Fruit Attraction, Madrid. Philippe Binard, Freshfel Europe General Delegate, moderated the new organisation’s kick-off meeting, which follows the example of similar global dialogue platforms created for other specific fruit categories. The primary objective of the WCO is to facilitate collective action in the citrus sector for both fresh and processed categories. Most recently the sector has been faced with an extensive array of significant issues of global concern including growth in production, overlapping of seasons, changing climate conditions resulting in varied quality and biosecurity challenges, increased competition within the citrus category and between other fruit categories and food products as well as stagnating fruit consumption. The WCO will facilitate member countries to better face these common challenges and identify opportunities for the collective benefit of the citrus sector.

    WCO will be led by AILIMPO, the Spanish Lemon and Grapefruit Interbranch Association, and the Citrus Growers’ Association of Southern Africa (CGA). Sector representatives from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Israel, Italy, Morocco, Peru, Portugal, Spain, South Africa, USA and Uruguay have already confirmed their interest in taking part in this global citrus platform where together they may address the many multifaceted changes experienced by the citrus market over recent years. Drawing from its experience as coordinator of WAPA (World Apple and Pear Association), Freshfel Europe will coordinate and administer the WCO. Preparations are now ongoing for the next meeting in FruitLogistica 2020 in Berlin, where the formalities for the foundation and future structure of the organisation will be formalized.

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