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Horticultural cooperatives in 7 EU countries discuss CAP proposals

Cooperatives from seven EU countries (Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Poland, Greece and Belgium) have designed a joint proposal for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) post-2020 and for the future horticultural aid regime.

In a statement, sources of Cooperativas Agroalimentarias de España have summarised the key aspects of the agreed proposal, which aims to "maintain, improve and ensure" the aid regime for the fruit and vegetables sector in the framework of the future CAP.

"The current aid system is still the most appropriate," they said, especially given that the amount of aid granted is proportional to the value of the production marketed, it is adapted to the sector's challenges, it is effective and the budget is minimal and co-financed.

They have described producer organizations (PO's) as the "cornerstone" of the horticultural aid scheme. They stressed that "they should continue to be truly economic actors that put the products of their members on the market."

More support
Ahead of the future CAP and the horticultural aid scheme, they have proposed to improve the co-financing of the operational funds of the PO's by up to 60% with the introduction of a bonus system based on the organization's size, degree of development and level of cooperation.

They have also defended promoting the eligibility and the co-financing of certain actions related to internationalization, research and innovation, marketing, organic production, crisis management, transactional PO costs or exchange of information.

The European fruit and vegetable cooperatives consider the actions related to staffing costs of the PO's very important and they argue the need for maximum flexibility.

They also believes that investments or expenses that generate a positive impact on the environment should be considered as environmental measures, even if they do not entail a specific cost, and that all investments or expenses made by the PO's linked to sustainability along the chain are included among the eligible actions.

Tackling waste
As regards crisis prevention and management, this sector wants to improve collaboration with charitable organizations to promote the free distribution of fruit and vegetables withdrawn from the market and avoid food waste.

They also argue that the processing costs and the expenses for the handling and packaging of fresh products withdrawn for their free distribution should be similar.

The cooperative organizations are waiting for a regulation to specify the application of the Omnibus Regulation, which will enter into force in the EU at the beginning of January, as well as for improvements in the efficiency of controls and audits on aid.


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