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"Maarten de Moor, LAVA: "We still work for the producers"

Belgium: Founding of Freshcoop starting signal for collaboration on an international level

On Thursday the 29 of November a new 'transnational union of producers organisations' for fruit and vegetables in was baptised in Leuven, Belgium. The new organisation was named Freshcoop and will join Flemish and Breton horticulturists. producers from two very important horticultural production areas, Flanders and Brittany, will bundle their forces. The new transnational producers organisation represents four Flemish and seven French producers organisation, together worth almost 6,900 growers and a joint value of sold produce of over 900 million Euro. In this new organisation two large, well known labels will meet: Flandria and Prince de Bretagne. In the meanwhile it has been announced that their is interest from producers organisations from member states to also join in."

International level

Maarten de Moor of LAVA says that there are good examples of collaboration on a national level in Belgium and France. "In Brittany this is Cerafel, the umbrella organisation of Prince de Bretagne. Cerafel is an organisation comparable to LAVA. We can both collaborate well on a national level and now we are looking at where we can find one another on an international level. The first step was made by founding Freshcoop. As far as executive tasks are concerned we are still at the beginning and this will be filled in soon. This will be about joint GMO action programmes and such. Especially in practice this must be carefully examined and then we can work it out and take action on an international level."



"So for it is about the products cauliflower, leek, tomato, chicory and pepper. We chose five products which both production areas have in common. Research has been done within Europe concerning the possibilities for collaboration and this is the beginning. Yet the collaboration with Prince de Bretagne isn't new. We have been in regular contact for five years. At the moment the possibility of more producers organisations joining in is being looked into. So it may be extended further. Requests for membership can be submitted. We are following the 'spirit' of GMO, a concentration of the supply and lowering the production costs of producers. Efficiency is the key word, doing two equal researches in two different countries is double the work."

Stronger

"it's good to be stronger in the market with a large group of producers. The law allows agricultural products to be sold under the cost price and sometimes this is harrowing. By working together we can realise a fairer price for the producer. We have to move towards a more balanced supply and demand market. If you don't concentrate the supply, it leads to under bidding. This is how people play producers out against one and other, because everyone wants to get rid of their products. This is also a difficult market to differentiate. There can be differences in product, quality and services but added value is relative. The consumer segments in a different manner than the grower."

"The collaboration just has the largest benefits. A grower with two hectares shouldn't be sent out onto the market alone. And if you're a bit bigger as a producer and you connect your volume to one buyer, you're very dependent. What we're trying to do is to generate a market place where we confront as many producers possible with as many customers as possible. In Belgium and Holland there are still big differences. We still work for producers, they are our bosses, the owner. That's what we focus on. Other companies look at the margins they can create for the company itself."

Added value

"Questions that arise from this are: do you have to keep importing to be able to supply to the customer all year round? In what ways are you offering added value? We still swear by the clock. It is a very efficient machine and we are a reference for the whole of Europe. The biggest difference between France and Belgium is the way of marketing and the market itself. We like export and the French consumer has other wishes. Every market must be approached specifically and the best sales methods chosen," concludes Maarten.
 

For more information:
Maarten De Moor
LAVA
+32 (0)15 50 42 52
maarten.demoor@lava.be
www.lava.be

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