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Medfel 2020 focuses on initiatives for the climate and consumers

Medfel 2020 focuses on initiatives for the climate and consumers

 

With 6,000 expected visitors and 250 exhibitors, the 12th edition of the MEDFEL fair focuses on the key themes of our time: sustainable and organic agriculture and consumer trends. On 22-23 April, 2020 at the Exhibition Centre in Perpignan (France), the fair will present a view of the sector and the initiatives taken so far. It will also be the occasion to hear the sector’s major players discussing initiatives for the climate and in the organic sector to meet society’s expectations. The Fel’Innov’ Challenge will provide an engaging 0 waste initiative, while Isabelle Autissier, president of the WWF France, has been invited to lead a debate on the organic sector.

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Paris to get world’s largest rooftop farm

Paris to get world’s largest rooftop farm, credit: Agripolis
© Agripolis

 

Paris is to set up an urban farm on its perimeter to supply residents with one ton of food per day. As weforum.org reports, the Paris Expo Porte de Versailles, which is currently under renovation, is set to become the location of the world’s largest urban rooftop farm as of next year. Covering an area of 14,000 m², it will be planted with around 30 different species, grown in columns without soil and fed with nutrient-rich solutions and rainwater. This aeroponic method requires little water consumption and allows large numbers of plants to be grown in a small area.

Visitors will be able to purchase produce, which will also be available for tasting in the rooftop restaurant. The farm will host educational tours and citizens will be able to rent spaces to grow their own crops.

Agripolis, the company behind the farm, already runs other rooftop farms around France. Speaking to The Guardian, founder, Pascal Hardy, said, “Our vision is a city in which flat roofs and abandoned surfaces are covered with these new growing systems. Each will contribute directly to feeding urban residents who today represent the bulk of the world’s population.”

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Call for ban on organic greenhouse production out of season

The National Federation of Organic Agriculture, the Climate Action Network, the Nicolas Hulot Foundation and Greenpeace have launched a petition to the French Minister of Agriculture and Food to more strictly supervise the heating of greenhouses in organic farming and prohibit the production of organic fruits and vegetables out of season.

Organic farming in France continues to expand exponentially. In 2017, 14% of France’s agricultural organisations were engaged in organic farming and accounted for nearly 6.5% total farmed area. These two figures represent a rise of 40% and 50% respectively compared to 2013, according to Agency ORGANIC. However, there are claims that organic farming in France is not as rigorous when conducted in glasshouses – heating a greenhouse using non-renewables does not appear to be very organic. As a result, the National Committee of Organic Agriculture (CNAB) is deliberating whether to ban heating greenhouses for the production of organic fruit and vegetables out of season. So far, the vote has been postponed twice. Organic specifications clearly impose “respect for natural cycles” and “responsible use of energy”. A study found that tomatoes grown in France under a greenhouse produces four times more greenhouse gas than a tomato imported from Spain and eight times more than a tomato produced in France in season.

The petition has already collected 40,000 signatures and is supported by six key players: the fair trade platform France, WECF, Bioconsom, Justice Pesticides, the Ecotable Community and Good for the climate.

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Large European Conference crop in 2018

Large European Conference crop in 2018

Europe’s 2018 Conference pear crop is 9% above the three-year average (2015-2017), thanks to growth in all of the three main producing countries: the Netherlands (+13%), Belgium (+7%) and France (+7%). The French crop has smaller calibres than previous years due to the hot weather, which precipitated collection. Domestic production is under threat from the large Belgian and Dutch crops, putting pressure on prices, despite locals preferring French products.

The Comice variety took over from Conference in February. Then, in March, the conservation chambers were opened and the fruit ripened rapidly, leading to less stable quality. The campaign drew to a close at the start of April.

 

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Potato consumption on the rise in France

Large French potato crop

French consumers’ purchases of fresh potatoes rose 7.3% in May 2019, according to data published by Kantar. Since the start of the 2018-2019 campaign, purchases have grown 0.8% in volume. Growth was recorded in all of the distribution channels: +3.7% in hypermarkets, +6.9% in supermarkets, +13.8% in specialised channels. The average price of potatoes in supermarkets in May was €1.28/kg, up 39% from the same period last year. French early potato accounted for 25% of varieties marketed.

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Contrasting fortunes for EU peach and nectarine producers

Contrasting fortunes for EU peach and nectarine producers

After a positive 2016 campaign for EU peach and nectarine producers, 2017 was somewhat more complicated. The 2018 campaign saw a smaller crop due to frost damage in many areas of Europe. However, the pattern was not uniform across the EU. Despite the lower volumes of Italian and Spanish production, prices remained relatively low, although not as low as in 2017. Nevertheless, they were often below production cost. By contrast, French production was more successful on the market, commanding higher prices. This difference in price between French and Spanish production has been a phenomenon of the past three years now, and is no doubt the result of the efforts made by the French industry to develop the quality of its products, service, promotion, and collective actions such as environmentally responsible orchards. It is also the effect of the popularity of “Made in France” products in general, which makes the French more confident in domestic production than in foreign imports.

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French consumption of fresh produce falls while expenditure rises

French consumption of fresh produce falls while expenditure rises

The average amount spent by French households on fruit and vegetables increased by 0.9%, from €407.5 to €411.3 between 2017 and 2018. This increase is due to the average price rise of 4.6% for the 4th consecutive year, according to the Kantar report published by FranceAgriMer. By contrast, the average quantity purchased over a year has decreased from 168.3kg to 162.4kg. The price rises concern fruit the most (+5.1%), from €2.42 to €2.55/kg. “This increase is most noticeable in metropolitan areas, where average purchase prices have risen 10.4% year on year,” according to the report. The highest price increases were for apples (+12%) and kiwi fruit (+16.1%). The quantity of fruits purchased in a year fell by 3.6% to 82.3kg per household. Meanwhile, vegetable prices rose by 4.1% year-on-year, while sales volumes fell 3.4% to 80.1kg per household. Cauliflower (+15.4%), cucumber (+14.5%) and carrots (+21%) experienced the largest price increases.

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Italian wholesalers found to be falsely labelling fruit “Origin France”

Italian wholesalers found to be falsely labelling fruit “Origin France”

A scandal has erupted regarding the alleged “Origin France” labelling used by an Italian company to market kiwis grown outside of France. Investigations are underway, following data provided by customs that has led to a referral to the Italian authorities via the “Food Fraud” cooperation network set up by the European Commission. Criminal proceedings have been initiated in Italy against this company. The “Origin France” fruit in question was found to contain the presence of phytosanitary product residues that are banned in France. The DGCCRF conducted several further investigations that led the body to identify seven other companies having falsely labelling Italian kiwis in this way.

In all, 15,000 tons of “French” kiwifruit over the last three years have been identified as fraudulent, amounting to about 12% of all “French origin” kiwis, worth around €6 million.

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Spanish strawberry production area expands 3.5%

Spanish strawberry production area expands 3.5%

Spain’s strawberry production area increased by 3.5% in 2018, from 5,890 hectares to 6,095. The country’s 2017/18 campaign ended with a production of 280,300 tons, 8% less than twelve months earlier, while the production of other berries increased, blueberries (+15%), raspberries (+2%) and blackberries (+8%). Next week, representatives of the Spanish, Italian and French strawberry sectors will meet to review last season and discuss the campaign ahead. Among the objectives of the meeting, as recently announced by the new coordinator of the Product Committee of Oi Ortofrutta Italia, Pietro Ciardiello, is the enhancement of the Italian strawberry from a qualitative and ethical point of view, focusing on healthiness and sustainability. Moreover, actions are being sought against counterfeits and illegal forms of origin labelling.

Source: Italiafruit News

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New French food bill could limit non-EU food imports

New French food bill could limit non-EU food imports

Last autumn, the French parliament passed a new farm and food law to raise farmers’ income by distributing a larger share of the added value of food products to the producers though price intervention and production cost-based pricing. It is felt that French farmers’ lack negotiating power in the retail sector. One provision addresses imports of agricultural and food products from non- EU countries into France. If a product is treated with an herbicide or pesticide that has not been approved for use within the EU, the product cannot be imported into France. For instance, if the EU decides to ban glyphosate, according to this provision, France would be entitled to ban imports of all products that were treated with glyphosate.

French Farm groups claim France’s and the EU’s environmental and welfare regulations raise production prices and make their products uncompetitive, even within the EU. They silently support the new provision without yet providing a formal endorsement. According to most trade experts, it is not WTO compatible and is unenforceable in the context of the EU’s Common Market. The EU commission has not commented on the bill.