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Belgian and French veg growers form cooperative

On Thursday, November 29 in Leuven a new "transnational association of producer organizations" for fruits and vegetables was formed. The new organization was given the nickname Freshcoop and brings Belgian and French growers together. Producers from two very important horticultural production regions, Flanders and Brittany, will join forces. The new transnational producer organization represents 4 Flemish and 7 French producer organizations, which together account for nearly 6,900 growers and a total value of marketed production of over 900 million Euro. In this new organization two large, well-known labels come together: Flandria and Prince de Bretagne. Meanwhile, it was announced that producer organizations from a number of other Member States may be ultimately interested in joining.


Photo: Tuinbouwnet.be

Flemish Minister-President Peeters sees the role of the newly established transnational producer organization, which has chosen to be based in Flanders, as a pilot and demonstration project of transnational cooperation on such a large scale. For such partnerships in the future to get off the ground, a number of obstacles at European level still need to be eliminated, including the official recognition of such organizations. Therefore Minister-President Peeters asks the European Commission - with high priority and in the short term - to clarify the financial responsibilities with the recognition of producer organizations of such magnitude involved. "It can not of course be that all responsibilities are only placed in the area in which recognition is sought," said the Prime Minister.

"The horticulture sector is a very important sector for Flanders. Export wise, we are the leaders in various products,
since for many products more than half of the fruit and vegetable production is exported. Therefore, international cooperation within the framework of our vision of the development of the sector is very important and we welcome initiatives which could contribute to it," added Minister-President Kris Peeters.

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