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.
“Currently, the organic fruits and vegetables grown in Spain are exported and are not seen much on the home market,” explains ProNatura CEO, Lionel Wolberg. “We want to help the farmers produce quality through better planning and variety selection in order to develop the Spanish market for organic produce.” A ProNatura subsidiary will be operational in early 2016, working in production areas (the BioSpan network), with small-scale growers, and also in Madrid, to provide support for the development of the organic fruit and vegetable distribution business. ProNatura will then expand into other Spanish regions to extend its production and market development.
ProNatura is the leading French organic fruit and vegetable distributor and one of the foremost companies in Europe in its field. In 2015 it collected and distributed 55,000 tons of fruit and vegetables, 70% of which were grown in France. All its products are certified organic and some of its exotic fruits are fair trade and Demeter certified. The AFAQ 26000 assessment has classed the firm’s corporate social responsibility policy as Confirmed.
ProNatura sells 85% of its products in France – to specialist retailers, markets, wholesalers, volume retailers, the HoReCa sector and the food industry – and the rest in other parts of Europe. The group works with 1500 producers, including 650 in France, to supply its clients with a range of 300 items. Its supply chains in Provence, Brittany, Roussillon and Île-de-France are particularly well-developed.
In 2015 it expanded into Alsace, setting up a sales and logistics facility near Strasbourg and creating a producer group (AlcaBio). ProNatura also inaugurated a facility in Nantes in early 2015. At the end of 2015 it left its existing stand at Rungis wholesale market, inaugurated in 2014 to build up a HoReCa and market stallholder clientele, and moved to the market’s new organic food hall, a 1800 m2 building with an eco-friendly design and transcritical CO2 refrigeration, which is climate-neutral. The group also has a presence in Morocco (citrus fruit), Togo (pineapples), Burkina Faso (mangos) and the Dominican Republic (bananas), as well as in Spain from 2016.