The Assembly of European Fruit and Vegetable Regions, AREFLH, representing 16 regions and 38 producer organizations from 10 European countries - including the Afrucat, Proexport, and Coexphal associations, which are part of FEPEX - held its latest assembly in Lleida, where it focused on climate change, as well as the draft Packaging Regulation, as the main concerns of European fruit and vegetable regions.
The consequences of climate change, including the scarcity of water resources, are increasingly evident in European production. The members of AREFLH created a working group on the water so that member producers can exchange views on the consequences of the lack of water in their territories and discuss short-term and medium-term solutions that guarantee their production.
The assembly, which was held in Lleida on March 23 and 24, also discussed the increasing appearance of new pests and diseases brought by climate change. Producers are worried that, as a result of the implementation of the Farm-to-Table Strategy, which calls for reducing the use and risk of chemical pesticides by 50% and reducing fertilizer use by at least 20% by 2030, among other things, they will lack solutions to face these pests. Despite the commitment of Community producers to sustainable agriculture, their concern is that a decrease in production would lead to a reduction in food sovereignty in Europe.
The assembly also discussed the European Commission's draft regulation on packaging. This regulation proposes the elimination of packaging for fruit and vegetable products weighing less than 1.5 kg, with insufficient exceptions to ensure optimal transport, export, and the best possible quality of the products at the points of sale.
According to the president of the AREFLH, Simona Caselli, the entity will pay special attention to this future regulation, "reinforcing its work before the institutions to guarantee a harmonization of the legislation on the packaging. We must also raise awareness among end consumers about the efforts made by the sector and about innovations in this field."
It's worth noting that the goals of AREFLH are to defend the economic and social interests of the fruit and vegetable sector before the Community authorities and to promote exchanges of experience, partnerships, and joint projects between regions and professional organizations.