Copa & Cogeca makes producer organizations a top priority

Top priority for new Chairman of Copa & Cogeca Fruit and Vegetable Working Party Philippe Appeltans from Belgium is to make sure that the EU continues to focus support and to develop Producer Organisations (POs) such as cooperatives in the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) post-2020.

Speaking after the vote in Brussels, Mr Appeltans said “Fruit and vegetable POs such as cooperatives have played a positive role in helping producers to get a better price for their fruit and vegetables during the agricultural crisis. It was recognition of the positive role of POs which include cooperatives in the fruit and vegetable sector that led, in the last reform of the CAP, the EU to put more focus on tools to support POs like cooperatives. And it must be continued and built on in the CAP post-2020 when an options paper is set to be released on this by the EU Commission in Summer next year. We also need to make sure that the new member states encourage farmers to join POs like cooperatives as they are not very developed in these countries. They are highly concentrated in Belgium, France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands in the fruit and vegetable sector and we need to help them and extend them to other countries to enable farmers to better market their produce and get a better return for it.”

“We also need to overcome hurdles and legal obstacles so that POs which include cooperatives can get bigger and be on a more level playing field with retailers”, he added. “Finally, our sector has been hit hard by the Russian crisis and it will be a priority for me to find additional market outlets for our quality produce and overcome SPS obstacles to trade”, he said.

Mr Appeltans, Secretary-General of The Association of Belgian Horticultural Auctions (VBT) and member of the Belgian Farm Organisation Boerenbond, was unanimously elected as Chairman of Copa & Cogeca Fruit and Vegetable Working Party in Brussels this week for two years. He will be supported by two Vice Chairman Mr Sergio Tondini from the Italian Cooperative Alliance and Mr Krzysztof Krzesniak from the Polish Agriculture Organisation Solidarnosc (NSZZ). Mr Appeltans will take over from Hans Vans Es from the Dutch Organisation DPA who has helped to ensure for many years a viable fruit and vegetable sector.

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Copa Cogeca

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