Last week there was a lot to celebrate at REO Veiling. The cooperative is 70 years old this year and presented its new policy vision as well. "We have learned a lot from the past and therefore now want to view the future with a new look" as per commercial director Dominiek Keersebilck. One of the new introductions is, that together with all Belgian auction houses, we have been busy for five weeks now with a new weekly mediation system, the new online market for open ground vegetables. In human language it is somewhat comparable to the working of eBay. The new concept we picked up in Brittany, where it is used when selling onions and shallots. We cooperate more and more with these people."
At the moment three varieties of vegetables are sold via the new system, leeks, chicory and Brussels sprouts. Leeks and chicory is still block selling, but sprouts are sold as a producers lot. Apart from the volume LAVA also fix a minimum and a starting price, after which buyers via the electronic system can bid on the for them preferred lot. Therefore there are now not one or two buyers, who obtain a large part of the volume at the lowest price, but because of the bidding the middle price will increase and products are shared better amongst the buyers. At the moment sales of leeks and chicory are on Tuesday afternoon at 1.30 pm and the sales of Brussels sprouts on Thursday at 1.30 pm. Each sale is followed intensively and is analysed afterwards and if necessary adjusted.
Cooperation despite opposite interests
"The system is still only in the testing phase, but it is already working fully and continues to develop. There are now about 15 to 20 buyers from Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and France following each sales moment. The difficulty and the challenge is that we are involved in opposite interests. Growers want the highest price possible and buyers are normally not in agreement. Buyers also had some doubts, but we informed them fully and we want to be in discussion with our buyers all the time. Up to now reactions are positive. In the past the contract prices were a static fact, but now it is more dynamic resulting in a weekly price closer to reality. We expect the number of growers, who want to market their products in this way to increase in the future. The big advantage of the electronic mediation system is that it brings vitality in the weekly sales. Also in the sale of lots the producer is visible again and responsible for his own product. The buyer can indicate that he is willing to pay a higher price for the sprouts of a certain grower."
"In the future cooperation will become more important. Therefore the organisation Freshcoop, a cooperative between Breton and Flemish vegetable auction houses, has been started. More far reaching cooperative ties will be established and this is necessary with a view to the new period of GMO. This year is also the year of the cooperative and that goes well with our 70-year existence and new policy. Cooperation is the future and we want to cooperate with that from the REO Veiling perspective.