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Paul Demyttenaere: “Auction system essential for correct price-making process on the market”

Belgium: French cauliflowers at REO auction next year

From 2017, the assortment of vegetables of French origin will expand further at the REO Veiling (Agricultural Auction Market) in Belgium. French cauliflower will become an important product. REO Veiling has been working with cultivators and cooperatives in France for a long time. Starting next season, people will be working on a cauliflower auction that will also offer, besides Belgian cauliflower, produce from Saint-Omer, the cauliflower region in the north of France. The product will be offered distinctively, to allow French and Belgian buyers who work on the French market to buy the French product separately. REO Veiling personally assures quality guarantee. Demand for an active cross-border auction for cauliflower comes at the request of western Flemish and northern French producers. “Last season, we noticed for nearly all outdoor vegetables the price-determining and positive effect of the auction system, and that realisation is enormous in the north of France. Especially for producers in the north of France who are in danger of losing this sales systems,” says Paul Demyttenaere, manager of REO Veiling. “The system is very much alive, and it proves its importance in the world of fruit and vegetables every day.”

3 Essential conditions

Demyttenaere indicates that you need three essential conditions for a good auction system. “First of all, you need sufficient volume: a critical mass of product is essential. Furthermore, over the past 35 years the Belgian auctions have continuously worked on broadening and strengthening the distribution channel, by permanently investing in a broad, transparent and open sales system based on the most modern and efficient technologies. And finally, a rigorous pursuit of quality vegetables. This combination makes all the difference, and has proven how better prices can be got from the market once more this season. Take leeks, for example. The rigorous quality policy of the past two years, based on strain selection that assures quality and shelf life; the pursuit of the strain policy right up to the final customer and marketing via a very open and transparent auction system is clearly bearing fruit. Leeks from western Flanders are requested on export markets, and these markets are willing to pay more for our Flandria product. Compared with other export countries we can see that our leek prices are significantly higher. Gratuitous claims from the Netherlands that the auction will adversely affect the leek prices is therefore to deny reality. Last season, we also established for cauliflower that auctions make all the difference. Despite the fairly large volumes of recent weeks, up to 80,000 cauliflowers per market day, prices for quality cauliflowers increased to almost 2 euro last week. And prices paid by Dutch trade to producers hovered somewhere around 80 cents.”

Cauliflower and other greenhouse vegetables
French cauliflower cultivators who have now joined REO, will ensure an additional volume of over three million cauliflowers. “Besides cauliflower, the product assortment will gradually increase. Considering France is our second domestic market, and therefore essential to our export, we also want to be able to offer more products from this country. Next year we will also start with a new greenhouse area of over 50 hectares in the north of France; REO cultivators can cultivate various greenhouse vegetables there. From 2017, greenhouse vegetables from France will also be expected at the auction.”
Talks with other French cooperatives
REO Veiling has previously launched cooperation efforts with northern French cooperatives. The steps being taken now take things further. “It is a big step regarding cross-border (and cross-language) cooperations. The conviction to work together in order to keep auction sales the driving force behind cultivation exists with French and western Flemish cauliflower cultivators. Besides, we are in intense talks with various cooperatives who show an interest in our project. We want to be able to offer more and more French product to the French market in future, and to become a partner who is irreplaceable in this market in this manner.”

For more information:
Paul Demyttenaere
REO Veiling
Oostnieuwkerksesteenweg 101
8800 Roeselare, Belgium
Tel: +32 (0)51 231 200
Fax: +32 (0)51 231 289
[email protected]