On October 1, former Boerenbond spokesman Luc Vanoirbeek succeeded Philippe Appeltans as general secretary of the Association of Belgian Horticultural Cooperatives (VBT).
The new general secretary does not intend to introduce all kinds of changes. "In Latin, people say 'Tene quod bene', preserving what is good. I will do this initially but then we have to look further. In the fruit and vegetable sector it is difficult to plan far in advance. Situations change because we depend on a lot of things, such as climate and social trends. The intention is to follow this as well as possible and to respond to this."
When asked whether the Belgian auction structure still has a future in its current form, Vanoirbeek firmly believes that it will definitely stand the test of time. "We are a model in Europe and the system has certainly proved its worth in the past. People working together are better equipped against fluctuations and challenges. We can not underestimate the contribution of the cooperatives to research and development. In Belgium we have greatly developed test beds to which the auctions also contributed greatly. So I believe that this structure will remain intact in the future."
Luc Vanoirbeek worked for the Boerenbond for 32 years. "I have been chairman of the Groene Kring (young farmers). I have also been a social policy adviser at the Boerenbond. Then I occupied myself with seasonal workers, employment and the status of foreigners. After that I was a horticultural advisor for quite some time and then I got affinity with fruit and vegetables. Finally, I provided the European and international contacts of the Boerenbond and during the last year I was spokesman. "
"There certainly won't be a lack of challenge with this job. Every day is different, one day we deal with export and the other day with food safety and quality. Last week I was at the chicory biennale in Etten-Leur and it is nice to work with the Dutch colleagues. The essence of the work of the VBT is to strengthen the position of the grower in the food chain. We are convinced that people who work together can better protect themselves against market conditions," Luc concludes.
For more information: