Belgium: French and Belgian vegetable growers collaborate in union

Late last month the Belgian city of Leuven witnessed the birth of a “transnational union of fresh produce organisations”. The organisation was nicknamed Freshcoop and was set up to unite horticulturalists from Belgium and France. Producers from two important horticultural regions, Flanders and Brittany, will join forces. The new transnational organisation represents 4 Flemish and 7 French growers’ organisations with an accumulated turnover of 900 million Euro. It will also be a meeting-ground for two familiar labels: Flandria and Prince de Bretagne. Organisations from other regions have already expressed interest in joining.

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Flemish Prime Minister Kris Peeters considers the union an exemplary model for transnational cooperation. In order to advance the formation of similar ventures some obstacles still have to be overcome. The Prime Minister has asked the European Commission to provide clarity on the financial responsibilities involved with founding a union on this scale. “We can’t expect the regions involved to bear full responsibility,” Peeters stated.

The Prime Minister went on to say that the horticultural sector is of vital importance to Flanders: “We are the leading market when it comes to the export of several products; over half the produce is shipped abroad. That is why we ought to both encourage and support initiatives that seek international cooperation.”

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