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EU court upholds ban on insecticides

EU court upholds ban on insecticides
Photo: Buyer

The European Court of Justice dismissed an appeal by Bayer to overturn a partial ban on three insecticides linked to harming bees. The ruling covers three active substances – imidacloprid developed by Bayer CropScience, clothianidin developed by Takeda Chemical Industries and Bayer CropScience, as well as Syngenta’s thiamethoxam.

A Bayer spokesperson said the firm was disappointed by the verdict and stood by the safety of the products, which continue to be used in other regions with appropriate risk mitigation measures applied.

The EU’s highest court ordered Bayer to bear its own costs plus those of other parties.


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20% higher sales of Zespri’s New Zealand kiwis forecast in Europe

20% higher sales of Zespri’s New Zealand kiwis forecast in Europe © Zespri

© Zespri


Zespri expects a record season for sales of New Zealand-grown kiwifruit, the first batches of which landed in Europe at the Port of Zeebrugge, Netherlands, on 18th April. The 7,000-pallet consignment of SunGold is aboard MV Cool Eagle, a new specialised reefer vessel built by Cool Carriers and the largest vessel to carry Zespri kiwifruit to date, reports Eurofruit. The first green kiwi should arrive in May.

Giorgio Comino, Zespri’s executive officer Europe and North America, said MV Cool Eagle is the first of five planned charter reefer vessels to Northern Europe under Zespri’s shipping programme this season. “There’s been good pollination and rainfall after pollination this season, which has helped with fruit sizing and it’s looking like another great-tasting crop. This season we’re expecting to supply nearly 20% more Zespri SunGold kiwifruit to Europe, reflecting the continued growth in demand for the variety, and around the same level of green as last season.”

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Banana Day in Europe – “When the Farm to Fork goes bananas”

Banana Day in Europe - “When the Farm to Fork goes bananas”
Press Release

On April 21, the Ecuadorian Banana Cluster celebrated the Banana Day with a high-level international event on the sector’s industry and its future. It was attended by important speakers such as MEPs Juan Ignacio Zoido and Mazaly Aguilar, the Ambassador of the European Union in Ecuador Charles-Michel Geurts, representatives of the European Commission such as Koen van Dyck from DG SANTE, Maija Laurila from DG JUST and Luis Carazo from DG AGRI, Professor, PhD and researcher at Wageningen University Gert Kema, PhD and Professor Emeritus at the KU Leuven Rony Swennen, currently researcher at IITA, and Carolina Dawson from CIRAD.

More than 550 people registered for the event, and attended by an average of 300 people during the two hours within 3 different panels:

  • Panel 1- “Different Regions, Different Needs” where the need for agriculture adapted to local realities was discussed.
  • Panel 2- “Shared Responsibility” in which the theme of shared responsibility was discussed, for a responsible and sustainable participation in the entire value chain.
  • Panel 3- “Future of Bananas” where the future of the banana sector and the industry was discussed, for an inclusive platform to accelerate the ecological and sustainable transition.

Participants showed their positions on the issues of sustainability, shared responsibility, certifications, FOC TR4 and the future of bananas in general. Speakers highlighted the role of shared responsibility in achieving sustainable development objectives, the coherence between EU requirements for local and imported production, the need for safe and simple certifications focused on consumers, and the need to promote dialogue and innovation.

At the end of the event, the Cluster shared an open letter to present to the authorities where the main conclusions drawn from the meeting were defended and asked the participants for their signature, support and diffusion. This letter also asks the United Nations (FAO) for the official declaration of April 21 as International Banana Day and its inclusion in the calendar, given the great importance of this fruit.

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First shipment of record ZespriTM Kiwifruit crop is due to arrive in Europe

First shipment of record ZespriTM Kiwifruit crop is due to arrive in Europe

The first shipment of what is expected to be a record season of New Zealand-grown ZespriTM Kiwifruit is on route to Europe.

The fruit is aboard MV Cool Eagle, a new specialised reefer vessel built by Cool Carriers, with the ship expected to arrive on Sunday 18 April. MV Cool Eagle is one of a series of five ships that are the largest reefer vessels ever built and will carry over 7,000 pallets of fruit making MV Cool Eagle the largest vessel to carry ZespriTM Kiwifruit to date. The vessel will discharge her cargo of fresh Zespri SunGoldTM Kiwifruit in the Port of Zeebrugge, Belgium.

The first shipment of Zespri Green Kiwifruit is expected to leave for Europe in May.

Giorgio Comino, Zespri Executive Officer Europe and North America, says MV Cool Eagle is the first of five planned charter reefer vessels to Northern Europe under Zespri’s shipping programme this season.

“As we finish up sales of our non-New Zealand grown crop, we’re looking forward to the arrival of the MV Cool Eagle to begin our new season,” says Mr Comino.

“There’s been good pollination and rainfall after pollination this season, which has helped with fruit sizing and it’s looking like another great-tasting crop.

“This season we’re expecting to supply nearly 20 percent more Zespri SunGoldTM Kiwifruit to Europe, reflecting the continued growth in demand for the variety, and around the same level of Green as last season.”

Mr Comino says with this season’s harvest now underway across all growing regions in New Zealand, the wider kiwifruit industry was again working hard to ensure it can safely pick, pack and ship another delicious crop of ZespriTM Kiwifruit.

“There has been a tremendous effort from everyone in the kiwifruit industry to respond to the ongoing challenges posed by COVID-19,” says Mr Comino.

“While New Zealand remains in level one, the industry will again be embracing additional safety protocols and embracing enhanced hygiene practices throughout the supply chain, and concentrating on delivering more fresh, healthy fruit to its customers and consumers in Europe.”

Mr Comino confirmed that this season’s marketing campaigns would again feature the Kiwi Brothers following a successful launch in six core European markets last season.“

This year, we are integrating these popular characters on our prepacks and through promotions with our retailers.

“We’re also excited to begin rolling out new cardboard packaging lines this season, after significant investment in our Zeebrugge packing station, and this season ZespriTM will be able to offer nine million prepacks without plastic flow wrap, reflecting our commitment to sustainability.”

With the new season approaching, Mr. Comino is looking forward to again working with Zespri’s long-term suppliers and partners.

“Our suppliers and partners continue to play a major part in our successes throughout the year, and we would like to recognise them for their work delivering our fruit to consumers, despite the challenges presented by COVID-19.”

About ZespriTM

With global operating revenue of NZ$3.36 billion in 2019/20, ZespriTM is one of the world’s most successful horticulture marketing companies and the ZespriTM brand is recognised as the world leader in premium quality kiwifruit. Based in Mount Maunganui, New Zealand, we are 100 percent owned by current or past kiwifruit growers, and employ over 600 people in New Zealand, Asia, Europe and the Americas. On behalf of our 2,800 growers in New Zealand and 1,500 growers based elsewhere, ZespriTM manages kiwifruit innovation and supply management, distribution management and marketing of ZespriTM Green, Zespri SunGold TM, ZespriTM Organic, ZespriTM Gold, ZespriTM Sweet Green and ZespriTM Red Kiwifruit.




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IFOAM Organics Europe welcomes new organic action plan

IFOAM Organics Europe welcomes new organic action plan


Brussels, 25 March 2021 – The organic food and farming movement welcomes today’s publication of the European Organic Action Plan 2021-2027, and particularly its “push-pull” approach, aiming at balancing increases in both production and demand of organic products.

Jan Plagge, President of IFOAM Organics Europe welcomed that “the EU Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies put organic farming at the heart of a transition to sustainable food systems, with a target to reach 25% organic land on average by 2030 and with the publication of a new EU organic action plan, which will mark a new era for the transformation of our food systems towards organic and agroecology”. He added that “the Commission has put forward concrete steps to boost organic demand such as the €49 million budget for organic within the promotion policies framework as well as the integration of organic products into the minimum mandatory criteria for sustainable public procurement. Given the importance of knowledge in organic food systems and the role that organic practices play in the internalisation of external costs, allocating at least 30% of the Horizon Europe funding for agriculture, forestry and rural areas to topics relevant for the organic sector, as well as carrying out a study on the real price of food and the role of taxation are timely steps forward”. Jan Plagge added that he already looks forward to the annual EU ‘Organic Day’ which will be an ideal opportunity to take stock of how the organic action plan is performing.

Eduardo Cuoco, director of IFOAM Organics Europe said that “we must not forget the importance of the involvement of national, regional and even local actors for this action plan to be as successful as possible in reaching the 25% organic target and transitioning towards more sustainable food systems. This action plan provides tools for Member States to fully tap into the potential of organic farming to regenerate European agriculture and to reconcile farming and nature. Specifically, involvement beyond the EU level is vital for actions related to public procurement, promotion, the implementation of bio-districts, to name but a few”. On the CAP, Eduardo Cuoco added that “this action plan now needs to be implemented by Member States through their national CAP strategic plans. Therefore, the organic movement welcomes that the Commission will ensure Member States make the best use of the possibilities offered by the new CAP to support their national organic sector and that farm advisory services will be strengthened.  It is time to properly reward organic farmers as well as conventional farmers transitioning to organic for the benefits they deliver to nature and society, and to properly fund farm advisory systems geared towards organic and other agroecological practices”. 

IFOAM Organics Europe looks forward to collaborating with relevant institutions and interested stakeholders to make this new organic action plan a success, through concrete and workable actions on the ground.

For more information please visit

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Freshfel Europe welcomes UK announcement to postpone new import requirements for EU exports in response to sector’s request

Freshfel Europe welcomes UK announcement to postpone new import requirements for EU exports in response to sector’s request

Over the past months Freshfel Europe has been advocating in cooperation with its members for more flexibility from the UK when it comes to the obligation for EU fresh produce exports to the UK to carry phytosanitary certificates from 1 April. Today’s announcement by the UK government about the adjustment of the timelines in the introduction of controls for EU imports, made in a written statement by RT Hon Michael Gove, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, is therefore warmly welcomed by Freshfel Europe and the fruit and vegetables sector as a crucial relief to enable the sector to smoothly adapt to Brexit in the ever-challenging context of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

In today’s announcement, the UK agrees to postpone the introduction of phytosanitary certification obligations for most fresh produce, considered low risk plant products, until January 2022, when documentary checks will start to apply. Physical checks at Border Control Posts on fresh produce will only be applied from March 2022. Freshfel Europe General Delegate Philippe Binard emphasized that, “Freshfel Europe has been voicing strong concerns over the last months and we consider that this postponement is essential to ensure the supply of the UK market and the continuation of trade flows through the Channel, across which the EU27 exports over 3 million tonnes of fresh fruit and vegetables a year”. Currently EU supply represents 40% of the UK’s internal demand for fresh produce.

Following this welcome news, the sector further calls EU and UK authorities to make the most of this extended 9- month transition to speed-up preparations to ensure the smooth running of operations in 2022. The challenge remains enormous – over 750,000 phytosanitary certificates will be required on an annual basis to sustain EU-UK trade in fresh produce, a substantial economic and administrative burden, and a threat to the capacity of the industry to continue ‘just in time’ operations if administrative procedures are not sped-up. Freshfel Europe Director for Trade and Market Access Natalia Santos-Garcia Bernabe, highlighted that, “In Freshfel Europe and FPC’s letter to the RT Hon Michael Gove, the sector reiterated the need for electronic certification transmission between the EU and the UK to be up and running before the end of the year through the e-Phyto hub”. The postponement will give more time on both side of the Channel to work on digitalization and the successful introduction of electronic certification in 2022.


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The RUCIP European Committee approves new internal structure and appoints new European Delegate

PRESS RELEASE Cristina Pohlmann. Copyright DKHV


Since the 1st of January 2021, the RUCIP European Committee has a new internal organisation that aims to maintain the continuity and professionalism of RUCIP. Whilst its European Secretariat remains in Brussels and is administered by Europatat, Ms Cristina Pohlmann, Assistant to the Director of the Deutscher Kartoffelhandelsverband e.V. (DKHV), has been appointed as the new RUCIP European Delegate.

Brussels, 1 February 2021 – The change of location of the RUCIP European Secretariat to the Europatat’s office in Brussels in 2017 was meant to improve the functioning of RUCIP, offer better services and professionalise the management of its different activities. To maintain these objectives, the RUCIP European Committee has revamped its internal structure, making a distinction between the European Secretariat and the European Delegate Office: Whilst the European Secretariat remains in charge of the day-to-day administration of the RUCIP European Committee (including finances, communication and organisation of meetings and trainings), the European Delegate Office is from where the European Delegate handles expertise and arbitration requests.

Next to that, the RUCIP European Committee has appointed Ms Cristina Pohlmann, Assistant to the Director of the Deutscher Kartoffelhandelsverband e.V. (DKHV), as the new RUCIP European Delegate. Ms Pohlmann has been working for DKHV since 2015 and is currently running the German RUCIP Office for expert assessments and the German “Berliner Vereinbarung” Arbitration Office. These are advantages that are non-negligible, as she perfectly masters the RUCIP rules, has an extensive experience in managing arbitration cases and also participates in the meetings of the RUCIP Working Group devoted to the modernisation of the current rules.

The updated RUCIP rules (including a revamped organigram and a new Annex with the position description and responsibilities of the European Secretariat and the European Delegate) are available for free in Dutch, English, French, German, Italian and Spanish on the website of RUCIP (

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Sharp drop in cargo handled at European ports

Sharp drop in cargo handled at European ports © La Ville du Havre

© La Ville du Havre


Shipping companies have suffered heavily from the effects of the pandemic, with volumes handled dropping by over a third in some cases. In the first nine months of 2020, Northern European ports registered a 6% fall in volumes compared to the same period in 2019, handling 31.3 million TEU, according to data published by

Wilhelmshaven in Germany was the most affected port, with a 35% Y-O-Y fall in volumes, and market share dropping by 30%. Similarly, Le Havre in France saw its volumes drop by almost a quarter in the same period, with an 18% loss in market share.

Antwerp was the only port that has not lost volumes and has gained 7% in market share.

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Healthy nutrition and school support for children: Zespri Europe supports the Hamburg ARCHE

Healthy nutrition and school support for children: Zespri Europe supports the Hamburg ARCHE
Photo: Zespri Europe

For many children from socially disadvantaged families there are neither regular hot meals nor suitable learning conditions at home. The Corona crisis has further accellerated this situation – but social institutions work daily to accommodate these children and give them a new perspective. Kiwi producer Zespri™ is now supporting the Hamburg ARCHE with 45,000 euros to implement two projects. 

“At Zespri, we recognize how fortunate we’ve been during this extraordinary year.

That’s why the European team, guided by our purpose, i.e. helping people, communities, and the environment around the world thrive through the goodness of kiwifruit decided to explore a new way of celebrating the traditional holiday season”, states Giorgio Comino, Executive Officer ENA at Zespri. “Moving forward, each year we’ll be selecting a different European charity that is dedicated to helping people, society and the environment thrive, echoing the best qualities of kiwifruit. We’ve asked each of our markets to assist with that process and to nominate local organizations that operate aligned with our own company values; guardianship and personal connections.”

Zespri™ will finance two projects of the German charity, Die ARCHE from now on, which support children and their families in their everyday life and give the children the possibility to develop their potentials despite difficult starting conditions.

 ARCHE Project “Healthy Eating”

 The ARCHE offers a warm lunch every day at the Hamburg locations Jenfeld, Billstedt and Harburg, where the children can talk about their everyday school life and at the same time learn more about healthy nutrition. Since there is also a great need for evening meals, the ARCHE Hamburg started the project “Dinner for children and adolescents from socially deprived families” in 2012, in which an evening meal is prepared together. In cooking courses, the children also learn how to prepare healthy meals independently and thus pass on their newly acquired knowledge to their families.

 ARCHE Project “School Support”

 Children from educationally disadvantaged homes have little school support at home, and often there is a lack of materials and a suitable, quiet place to work. The ARCHE Hamburg offers these children rooms with suitable technical equipment, working materials and – if necessary – even school bags: On the first two school days after the summer vacations alone, the ARCHE Billstedt has provided over 250 children and young people with a school starter package containing the most necessary materials.

By the promotion of Zespri™ full and honorary learning aids and fee workers are financed beyond that, who support the children with homework assistance, tutoring, reading promotion programs and company to learning therapies. Helping people, communities, and the environment around the world thrive through the goodness of kiwifruit.

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Nature’s Pride brings Apeel avocados to Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland

Nature’s Pride brings Apeel avocados to Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland © Eurofresh Distribution

© Eurofresh Distribution


Following successful results in Germany and Denmark, Apeel and Nature’s Pride will be expanding the market for Apeel avocados to the Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland. This move will serve to intensify cooperation between the organisations, both of whom share the same vision of reducing food waste and enabling a more sustainable food system in Europe. 

Apeel avocados have been available nationwide for quite some time in Germany and Denmark. Measurements during the pilot phase revealed a more than 50% reduction in food waste at retail stores supplied with Apeel avocados from Nature’s Pride. The difference per trailer load is 3,900 avocados, equating to supply chain environmental savings of 640 kg CO2 and 720,000 litres of water. Nature’s Pride and Apeel are not surprised that these results have encouraged other countries to join the initiative. This week has seen the launch of pilot programs in the Netherlands with Apeel avocados being marketed under the EAT ME brand at the Hoogvliet retail chain. Pilots have also started in Norway, while three retail chains are currently in a pilot phase in Switzerland. 

“To facilitate market expansion, we are increasing our capacity to apply Apeel to produce. We are working intensively with Apeel to scale up the Apeel process so we can supply even more customers and widen the scope of our efforts to fight food waste. We are also expanding the range of Apeel-treated products. We hope to start with mangos in early 2021. In this way, we want to introduce greater numbers of consumers in Europe to our products with Apeel,” explains Adriëlle Dankier, Chief Commercial Officer of Nature’s Pride.

“We are thrilled that more and more retailers in Europe are experiencing the benefits of Apeel produce. With Apeel, retailers are dramatically reducing food waste in stores and for shoppers at home, while growing sales and helping the planet. That’s something we can only achieve with innovative partners like Nature’s Pride and we’re pleased to be expanding our footprint with them,” said James Rogers, CEO and founder of Apeel.

The plant-derived materials in the Apeel coating help to retain moisture and reduce oxidation in the fruit for an extended period. This maintains quality for longer and slows down the rate at which produce spoils. This innovative technology helps growers, suppliers and retailers improve the quality of their products and extend the shelf life. It reduces food waste in the supply chain from the grower to the shop shelf and kitchen table. 

In Europe some 88 million tons of food is wasted annually, with associated costs estimated at €143 billion. In the Netherlands, for example, households waste an average of 34.3 kilograms of solid food per person per year. For the whole of the Netherlands, this means that consumers waste 589 million kilograms of solid food per year.