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Joost Depaepe, chicory grower Coobra and Marnick De Visschere, chicory grower REO

VBT Responsibly Fresh wins first European GlobalGAP Award

During the annual conference of GlobalGAP from 6 to 8 November 2012 in Madrid (Spain) the GlobalGAP Award was awarded for the first time. This prize is an acknowledgement for agriculturists and horticulturists, who with their GlobalGAP certificate address themselves to innovation and sustainable development. The Verbond van Belgische Tuinbouwcoöperaties (VBT) had, together with connected auction houses prepared a file about Responsibly Fresh. On 7 November 2012 the winners were made known. GlobalGAP chose VBT Responsibly Fresh as European winner. Philippe Appeltans, general secretary VBT, received the award in Madrid from Nigel Garbutt, chairman of GlobalGAP and Kristian Moeller, managing director of GlobalGAP.

GlobalGAP chairman Nigel Garbutt presents award to VBT general
secretary Philippe Appeltans

Chicory growers

In the file of Responsibly Fresh, which was lodged by VBT, the central product was chicory. Two growers were also mentioned. A typically Belgian GlobalGAP certified chicory grower is Joost Depaepe, who also as a sample company is included in the entry. Grower Joost Depaepe supplies his products to Veiling Coöbra and is the company working under Responsibly Fresh. Joost Depaepe started a horticultural company in 1985 and since 1999 he has concentrated completely on hydro-cultivation of chicory. Flip Fontaine, general director of Coöbra, reacted enthusiastically to the fact that one of their growers became the winner. "Chicory fits well within the Responsibly Fresh requirements and the cultivation of the best quality in the area of GlobalGAP. Joost's company is a good example of this, as he puts the focus on local and sustainable hydro-cultivation. He was very proud of his prize." The other chicory grower, who was added to the file, was Marnick de Visschere, who supplies Veiling REO. 

Click here for a previously published article about grower Joost Depaepe

Traditionally GlobalGAP had some hundreds of international members present at the annual conference. During the conference a number of them delivered speeches: government services, non government organisations and interest groups, buyers-retailers, certificate institutes and of course producers and their organisations and cooperatives. During three days evaluations were presented and together they worked for the further development of GlobalGAP.
For the first time GlobalGAP arranged for a GlobalGAP award: 'The Good Agrarian Practices Award' is given to producers for their agreement to GlobalGAP principles' Nigel Garbutt. GlobalGAP chairman mentioned. GlobalGAP certified products could supply a file, in which they explain the impact the certificate has on their cultivation and production, employees and the environment. Kristian Moeller, GlobalGAP managing director, explained: "The level of all files supplied is high. Candidates show a high rate of innovation towards durable development by their company and their activities." Finally on Wednesday 7 November 2012 four winners were announced:
VBT Responsibly Fresh is the European winner; the other winners are producers from Kenya, Uruguay and Japan.

Belgian delegation pleased with the award won

Just as emphasized by GlobalGAP the Belgian fruit and vegetable sector stressed till recently only a few aspects of sustainability. With the start of Responsibly Fresh in February 2012 this focal point has now been extended to sustainable development. 'To win this first GAP award means that the VBT and the connected cooperatives have made the right choice with Responsibly Fresh. It will be a stimulant for the seven auction houses and their products to bring their engagement to sustainable development further in practice daily' as per Philippe Appeltans, general secretary VBT.
Responsibly Fresh is the collective durability brand of the VBT for fruit and vegetables. Only producers and cooperatives, who demonstrably work on various aspects and criteria of durability are allowed to use the hallmark. The use of the hallmark is subject to very strict conditions. As of to-day the participating auction houses with the Flandria quality label are: Belgische Fruitveiling BFV, Coöbra, Limburgse Tuinbouwveiling LTV, Mechelse Veilingen, REO Veiling, Veiling Borgloon, Veiling Hoogstraten, en LAVA.

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