The second wave of COVID-19 has exacerbated the disturbances in the fruit and vegetable market across the EU, causing a severe situation marked by low prices. Consequently, FEPEX has asked the Ministry of Agriculture to report to the European Commission that new crisis management measures are needed.
Extensive travel restrictions and social distancing measures across Europe have caused the problems that emerged during the spring to worsen, with the disruption of supply chains and the temporary loss of important markets for the fruit and vegetable sector with the closure of restaurants, collective canteens, bars and hotels, as well as some wholesale markets.
Therefore, FEPEX is requesting the adoption of exceptional market crisis management measures at the EU level to face the consequences of the pandemic. For example, it has been proposed to implement support financed by the European Commission which all producers would be eligible for, regardless of whether they are members of producer organizations or not, and which would consist of crisis management measures, such as product recalls. The purpose is to allow the withdrawal of harvested products or to paralyze part or all of their production in order to adapt the supply to the changing demand and avoid prolonged market disruptions.
Also, FEPEX believes that the prolongation of the disturbances in the market and the long-term recovery prospects make the measures included in Commission Regulation 2020/592 of April 30, 2020 and in Commission Regulation 2020/1275 of July 6, 2020 insufficient. New measures are necessary within the framework of the operational programs of the fruit and vegetable producer organizations, which should be open to include current production costs and the extraordinary expenses derived from COVID-19.
FEPEX also believes that the price crises recorded this campaign are definitely a consequence of the growth of cheap Moroccan imports. Therefore, it has again asked for the activation of the cooperation and safeguard clauses included in Articles 4 and 7 of Protocol I of the Association Agreement between the EU and Morocco, the purpose of which is to correct market disturbances.