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"Advantage of umbrella FVPHouse when sharing things"

FVPHouse interested in innovation and MVO

FVPHouse is the umbrella organization of the professional federations of the Belgian fruit and vegetable trade and processing industry. Amongst these are Fresh Trade Belgium, Belgapom and Vegebe. Veerle van der Sypt of Fresh Trade Belgium and Romain Cools of Belgapom and Vegebe mention that working within the umbrella organization offer a lot of advantages, thanks to the natural synergism between various fruit and vegetable sectors. "The most important advantage is to share a number of things with each other and we are busy with that daily. We can do a lot together in certain areas. The areas of action we call horizontal as they apply to all federations. The three federations also act totally separately. Every one is 'vertical' again in its own aims, working groups, meetings and events.

All business related to export and import is arranged by Veerle van der Sypt. When sustainability, food safety and environment are involved, those are the aspects with which Nele Cattoor is involved. Romain Cools, who is also director of FVPHouse, is active in the economic, political and social area together with keeping into contact with the chain and other links. "Three aims of FDVPHouse are: first as back-office of Belgapom, Fresh Trade Belgium and Vegebe. In addition we are responsible for organizing schooling, for which we have a Q-for-quality label. We also work as a third objective at the future by means of Young FVPHouse."

Romain mentions that they are very strong as a group compared to other sectors in the vegetable sector. "The economically most successful sectors are controlled by FVPHouse. As we are the biggest we are to be an example. They often look to us in order to 'draw' the files of the entire vegetable sector. In the field of raw material politics we work in the areas of sustainability, food safety and environment together with the agricultural organizations under the name Vegaplan, in other words the development of the IKKB-standard. This is a unique arrangement, which starts a bottom-up approach within the chain. The cooperation in the entire vegetable chain ensures that we together can guarantee the safety of our products and raw materials and this in a feasible and affordable manner. Also we are successful in exchanging systems with the Netherlands (VVA and VVAk) and Germany (QS) in order to keep our quality at a high level and to offer a larger basis economically."
Actual: export
At the moment we are as FVPHouse working on the development of the export, also to new markets. Veerle: "The new part of this is to do it even more structured in the area of export and to work via a canvass of documents. This is being organized
in cooperation between FAVV, the export promoting organizations FIT and Awex and the sectors. We give the Food Agency (FAVV) the particulars to reach decisions. Because of the new development it will go quicker and more efficiently in the future to obtain from certain countries entrance into the market. Therefore we give FAVV even more information in order to organize everything more quickly. It is clear that this is a big challenge for the entire chain," as per Veerle.

Electronic certification
"From 1 January 2014 FAVV will start its system of electronic certification by the name of BECERT," she continues. All applications for export on phyto sanitary or other areas can be prepared electronically locally and printed and signed. This results in a quicker and more efficient service delivery when exporting to third countries. From 2014 BECERT will systematically be introduced for the various sectors.

"A different current subject, which is of interest to the federations Belgapom and Fresh Trade Belgium, is the export to Russia. Belgium has not been allowed for years to export seed potatoes and it is not possible to get any movement in this. It remains a market with less transparency for the entire sector and in addition the number of defaulters seems to increase from year to year. This is apparent from the stories of our exporters. Also Russia has restrained the import of seed and consumption potatoes from all of Europe and it does not appear that there will be any change in this."

MVO project
Veerle says that FVPHouse is busy on behalf of the federations Fresh Trade Belgium and Belgapom with a "MVO-project (MVO = Socially Responsible Entrepreneurship) and this in cooperation with UNIZO, the organization of independent entrepreneurs and SMO's. "This is therefore really a special for SMO companies active in the fresh market. We want to develop a sector passport following internationally recognized standards (GRI). It will take about a year to prepare a toolbox and to select the themes and expand those which apply to our sector. There are various companies cooperating, consequently the project is also translated on the company level. The final result of this project is a sustainability report. Via this report they can show clients and government that they are doing well in the area of sustainability. This has especially been designed for SMO's to show what they are busy with. This is not meant for large companies only. Thanks to this passport companies have an answer to requirements from international buyers in the distribution and foodstuff industry."

"The Flemish government has requested SMO's to innovate more. Strategically we want to be involved in this. We as well as C├ędric Van Rensbergen, employed a trainee, who on behalf of our sectors will show our vision on innovation. Finally we will have an answer to the question of how innovative our sectors are. 15 Companies will have the opportunity to follow an 'innovation university'' These are of course companies dedicated to innovation."

For more information:
Tel. +32 (0)9 339.12.52
Fax : +32 (0)9 339.12.51
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