Massively increased costs - insufficient compensation through higher sales prices at producer level: this is how the situation of the German fruit and vegetable industry can be summarized. At the committee meeting of the Federal Association of Fruit and Vegetable Producer Organizations (BVEO), its chairman and managing director of Reichenau-Gemüse eG, Johannes Bliestle, made it clear: "The pandemic and, above all, the Ukraine war have led to severe disruptions in supply chains and far-reaching geopolitical upheavals. As a result, there have been sharp increases in input, labor and energy costs. Higher selling prices at the producer level would be necessary to offset costs, but are not currently feasible in most markets."
For two days from March 22-23, 2023, BVEO members discussed in the heart of Berlin the focal points of the sector's current market and promotion development and the enormous challenges for producer organizations and affiliated farms in the face of a multiple crisis situation. Jens Stech-mann, Chairman of the Federal Committee for Fruit and Vegetables (BOG), emphasized how important it is in such a situation for the special crops associations to work closely together to monitor national and EU policy developments.
Franz-Josef Holzenkamp, President of the German Raiffeisen Association (DRV) and a member of the overall BVEO board, pleaded for more openness to technology: "In order to compensate for the planned restrictions on agricultural practice, such as in the use of pesticides, politics must show itself to be open to technology and remove hurdles. We can only meet the enormous challenges of our time with technological progress and the use of modern processes. With new breeding methods, for example, there is an opportunity for a sustainable and resilient agricultural and food industry."
The BVEO committee meeting, which was held for the first time after a long break due to Corona, covered a wide range of topics. In technical presentations and panel discussions, the impact of the Ukraine war on the markets and the new funding period in the Common Market Organization (CMO) were among the topics discussed. Presentations on possible synergies in the cooperation between producer organizations and start-ups as well as the question of how much fruit and vegetables the social web can take were also discussed.
At the end of the conference, it became clear that even though the fruit and vegetable sector is facing difficult times, the members of BVEO are facing the challenges with great determination and passion and are fulfilling their responsibility to supply the population with domestic fruit, vegetables and mushrooms. "We can handle crises," DRV President Holzenkamp summarized.
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