At a meeting in Hamburg on 16 and 17 December 2019, the BIOFRUITNET project was officially launched. Focusing on organic pome, stone and citrus fruits, this project aims to strengthen the competitiveness of European organic fruit production by:
Collecting and synthesizing existing practical and scientific knowledge on organic fruit growing to distribute it widely among the EU countries through easy formats like e-learning, podcasts, videos and short articles.
Strengthening the established networks in organic fruit growing and establish links between them to create strong networks of organic fruit producers and stakeholders with a good flow of information.
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme under Grant Agreement No 862850. It is coordinated by the international farmers association Naturland and carried out in collaboration with 15 partner organisations representing 12 countries in total. They will work together during 3 years to provide information to the farmers in a practical way to tackle the challenges of pests and diseases in fruit crops. FiBL is one of the project partners.
The European Packaging Forum is a precisely tailored congress event for the fruit and vegetable industry, focusing on marketing, sustainability, traceability, consumer and trade acceptance, innovative solutions, logistics, protection and functionality, hygiene and law. These are the topics that the experts from all stages of the value chain will be discussing on 14 May 2020 in Düsseldorf at Hotel Nikko Düsseldorf. This will be followed by the DFHV Annual Conference on 15 May 2020.
The organisers – Agrarmarkt Informations-Gesellschaft (AMI) and Fruchthandel Magazin – will be addressing a central topic in the sector, which is not only being strongly discussed in the entire value chain, but also in society. A press release stated: “Since the recent pictures of dead whales and polluted seas make this topic difficult to be ignored. We want to tackle the challenges and take a close look at them in order to discuss and sketch out alternatives and solutions with the competent experts in the end and thus give the industry new impetus. We want to bring together the most important market partners in the European sector in order to objectify the discussion and jointly develop new ideas and strategies for contemporary solutions and offers for the entire value chain.”
Simultaneous translation is provided of the plenary sessions in German and English.
Spanish producers are counting the cost of a deadly weather front that struck last week. Storm Gloria is reported to have wreaked the worst damage on citrus and vegetable production along the country’s eastern coast between Barcelona and Murcia, with losses estimated to run to €46 million.
Winds reaching over 110km per hour left a lot of fruit on the ground. Valencian agricultural association Ava-Asaja reported many farms still being under water days later, raising fears about the prospects for the second half of the campaign if conditions persist. Some flooded fields are expected to see whole crops wiped out. In recently planted potato and onions fields, farmers will be forced to replant. In terms of vegetables, cauliflower, broccoli, artichokes and lettuce are among the worst affected crops.
One benefit of the heavy rains is that the region’s reservoirs have been replenished, easing water restrictions. The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food said in a statement on Wednesday that all production losses from Gloria would be covered by the National Agrarian Insurance Plan. This includes losses to next year’s harvest resulting from damage to farms.
The global apple crop is expected to be at its lowest for eight years, down 9% to 68.7 million tons, according to FAS/USDA data. The slump is mainly due to China’s substantial weather-afflicted campaign, which more than offsets gains in the EU. China’s crop size is forecast to drop 25% to 31 million tons – nine-year low. The smaller output is set to lead to a fall in exports of around a third, to 880,000 tons, while imports are expected to rise 20% to 75,000, with the greatest increase constituted by shipments from New Zealand and the EU, which more than offset lower supplies from the US. Despite the ongoing trade war with China, which has resulted in a 50% retaliatory tariff, the US remains China’s top Northern Hemisphere.
The EU apple crop looks very different from last year’s, and is set to rebound from last year’s weather-damaged campaign. Volumes are up 40% to 14 million tons. The higher supplies have spurred a massive increase in exports to Egypt and India, with total shipments reaching 1.2 million tons. Meanwhile, imports to the EU are projected to drop markedly.
A recent Eurostat article included a handy snapshot of fruit and vegetable production in the EU. Based on the Eurostat publication ‘Agriculture, forestry and fishery statistics’, the article provides summaries of some of the main crops in the region, as follows:
The EU is one of the main global producers of tomatoes. In 2013, it grew an estimated 14.9 million tons of tomatoes, of which about two thirds came from Italy and Spain.
Open-air production is typical in southern EU Member States and is complemented by all-season greenhouses production which is typical of countries such as the Netherlands or Belgium.
About 5.1 million tons of carrots were grown by the EU-28 in 2013. Carrot production was relatively high in Poland and the UK — together these two countries accounted for a little over one quarter (14.3% and 13.5% respectively) of EU-28 output. Carrot tonnages have remained relatively stable – at around 0.7–0.8 million tons – in these two EU Member States over 2000–13 period.
The EU-28 produced about 5.7 million tons of onions in 2013.
The Netherlands and Spain are its two main onion producing countries, accounting for just over two fifths (44%) of total EU-28 output in 2013. Since 2006, production in the Netherlands has risen relatively sharply.
Fruit: Apples & Citrus
Around 12 million tons of apples were produced in the EU-28 in 2013. Apples are produced in almost all EU Member States, although Poland, Italy and France are by far the largest producers.
Citrus fruit production in the EU is much more restricted by climatic conditions; the vast majority of citrus fruit is grown by Spain.
Production of fruit and vegetables, 2013
source: ‘Agricultural production – crops’, Eurostat, 2015
image: by Thw1309 via Wikimedia Commons