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The Hoogstraten Cooperative reacts to fuss about dumped vegetables
"It is the result of a distorted market situation"
There is a fuss over a meadow in a Belgian protected area called the Brechtse Heide. In recent days, tonnes of tomatoes, bell peppers, and courgettes have been scattered there. These products originated from the Hoogstraten Cooperative. The media got wind of it and published photos of videos of the large numbers of dumped vegetables. Environmental organisations spread images on social media. These show angry, confused people reacting to the situation.
According to the Hoogstraten Cooperative's Director, Gaston Opdekamp, this is an unfortunate situation. It is being spread by the media. "What happened is, in itself, not an unusual situation. It is as a result of a market disruption," he says. "We are sitting with large volumes of unsold products. This is occurring with tomatoes and fruit-vegetables in large part of Western Europe."
"When we have surpluses, we look for other markets. These include animal feed and bio-fermentation facilities. We, however, cannot supply these products in unlimited quantities. What the media did not report was that in the preceding five days, 4 tonnes of these products were given to social welfare organisations", says Gaston.
"People arrived quickly to see a whole heap of tomatoes that had not yet been incorporated into the soil. A couple of evenings ago, the vegetables were completed incorporated under the watchful eye of the Inspectorate. We would prefer healthy foodstuffs rather end up somewhere else. This costs farmers and the sector money. This is our very last resort. This solution does, however, fall within the law", concludes Opdekamp.
For more information:
Hoogstraten - Belgium
+32 (0) 334 002 33
Publication date: 8/10/2018
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