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The potential benefits of the new EU norms on organics


The EU’s reforms for governing organic farming can offer the sector better protection. This is the view of MEP Martin Hausling who underlines that the sector is booming. The reforms will offer more consistent controls against fraud and better measures to prevent contamination. It will also ensure a level playing field as all imports of organic products will have to meet the same standards as those produced within the EU. There will be greater harmonisation of production standards for non-EU countries with which no bilateral trade agreements exist. At present, there are over 64 different production standards across the globe. An exemption for demarcated beds (approximately 18 ha) in Scandinavia will remains in force for a further ten years.  

The will be an overhaul in the use of seeds, with suppliers encouraged to offer more locally adapted traditional varieties, which have the benefit of tending to be more disease-resistant. These varieties were previously only sold under difficult conditions in Europe. Moreover, with the new norms governing group certification, small producers will be able to form alliances to reduce certification and control costs. A further benefit regards the exchange of information, with organic breeders able to offer their products publicly via Member State platforms. This will provide farmers in the EU with a fuller picture regarding the availability of organically bred plants.

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Belgians spending on fresh organic food and drinks grew by 6% in 2017


The consumption of fresh organic food and drinks increased by 6% in 2017 in Belgium, while in the Flanders region, the increase was as high as 11%. Vegetables, fruit and potatoes continue to receive the greatest interest and represent 40% of the spending on organics. The share of people who buy organics at least once a week increased in 2017 and 90% of Belgians buy an organic product at least once a year. The market share of fresh organic food products increased from 3 to 3.2%.
The farm shop and the farmers’ markets are the channels with the highest percentage of organic products in the assortment, with one out of every five products being organic. The supermarket remains the main purchasing channel for organic products.

These results were recorded by GfK Belgium on behalf of VLAM. For this survey, the purchases of 5,000 Belgian households were continuously monitored. The table below shows the spending on organics in different regions of the country over a ten-year period.


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Agroponiente with booming market and organics

Agroponiente confirms its market expansion in the organic segment, in Poland and North America.

Agroponiente is a company located in the Spanish Southeast, mainly in Almeria, but also with facilities along the coast of Granada, cultivating and trading fruit and vegetables such as tomato, cucumber, pepper, aubergine, beans, melons and watermelons, among others. Supply volumes for the current campaign are forecast to be similar last year’s, with slight variations per product and depending on how the market develops, as well as factors affecting it such as foreign competition, weather conditions and other eventualities.

New investments in packing and logistics

Throughout the year just closed, the firm invested over €2 million in upgrading facilities, mainly investing in logistics, reception processing and preparation services for produce in several of its centres. The aim is to continue the ongoing process of adaptation to market demands, while improving the product preparation logistics to meet each customer’s needs. Agroponiente continues its commercial philosophy based on reinforcing the strategies already up and running with its traditional customer base. For several years now the company has been working to open up new niche markets in countries such as the United States and Canada, although the bulk of its production is shipped to Europe, especially to Germany, the UK, Scandinavia, Italy and the booming Polish market, among others.

Organics, the biggest challenge this season

The latest big challenge for Agroponiente is organic production. To this end, a specific department has been created within the company, headed by Diego Oller, a professional in this segment with years of experience and knowledge. Agroponiente regards organic production as a reality with good future prospects for fruit and vegetable trading. To this end, the company has bolstered its activity in this area to meet growing demand from the markets. The company takes up this challenge with the drive, professionalism, knowledge and solvency gained through serving its customers for almost three decades. 

This article appeared on page 130 of edition 141, Jan/Feb 2016, of Eurofresh Distribution magazine. Read that issue online here.