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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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48 hours in Bordeaux

48 hours in Bordeaux © Alexandra Sautois, Eurofresh Distribution

The micro-events were very diverse, with attendees invited to notably visit an endive cultivation inside an old German blockhouse. /// © Alexandra Sautois, Eurofresh Distribution

 

On the last weekend of April, Bordeaux put on its finest clothes to celebrate 48 hours of urban agriculture (48h de l’agriculture urbaine). 

It must seem strange to read this news when France is still under lockdown, yet the event was quite legal, with 2,000 citizens allowed to discover agriculture in its many forms. “The event, which we have been planning since November 2020, was able to continue because we divided it into 60 micro-events scattered throughout the city, and a lot of them were outdoors,” said Marie-Agathe Widlöcher, one of the organisators. It was also necessary to meet strict sanitary conditions, which meant that almost every event received no more than six people, including the facilitator, with reservations made beforehand and mask-wearing was mandatory. 

It was the event’s third edition in Bordeaux after a two-year gap. Marie-Agathe Widlöcher explained that they had been planning to “do it differently from previous years, long before the second and third waves of the pandemic. For example, several associations of shared gardens, farms or agri-food professionals were contacted to make direct visits to their workplaces.”

Salomon Mouawad of the association Les incroyables comestibles said: “The goal is to reconnect people to nature just as they connect to their WiFi by raising awareness of the soil and its properties.” That’s why his association opened its doors to the shared garden it had been taking care of to show it off to city-dwellers for a weekend. 

Marie-Agathe Widlöcher was also pleased to receive the support of the Chamber of Urban Agriculture, Agrobio Gironde and La Ruche qui dit Oui !, which connect them with various players in the food chain.

Farmers turn out for the rendezvous

“Our goal is to connect farmers and citizens, so the latter can gain a better understanding of the food cycle right down to when it arrives on their plates. The cycle from production to purchasing might involve the MIN* of Bordeaux or a solidarity grocery store in the neighbourhood,” said Widlöcher. The events were very diverse, with attendees invited to visit La ferme de Pauline in Lormont, Le jardin de Quentin in Eysines (a traditional farm), or an endive cultivation inside an old German blockhouse. “Farmers were very interested in the event because they want citizens to have a better understanding of their work. We would have liked to have had more farmers contributing to the event, but it is a big time for them and not everyone was able to attend. As they were micro-events of half an hour or an hour, this facilitated their participation. And we are already very grateful to all those who were able to take part,” said Widlöcher. 

Multi-scale support

48 hours of urban agriculture is a national-scale event that is organised differently depending on the city. La SAUGE operates coordinates the various events up and down the country from its headquarters in Paris to ensure global communication on the internet and social networks. The organisers of this festival hope the event will spread to the international sphere, with editions in Spain or Belgium, as several groups in each country have expressed an interest in participating. 

 

*wholesale market for perishable food and horticultural products
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The Marlene® nymph decorates 150,000 bags across Europe

The Marlene® nymph decorates 150,000 bags across Europe
Press Release

Shopping bags with the new Marlene® image distributed to the best wholesalers and retail chains.

Marlene®’s new look will accompany thousands of consumers’ shopping trips throughout Europe. Starting in February, the “Marlene® nymph”, the work chosen to represent the VOG Consortium’s brand for Marlene®’s 25th anniversary, has been printed on over 150,000 shopping bags distributed in the main European countries where Marlene® apples are sold.

“The beautiful work that won our art competition turned the shopping bag into a desirable item. As well as being a useful and sustainable gift, this shopping bag is also chic and elegant, ideal for Marlene® consumers’ daily shopping trips,” comments Hannes Tauber, Marketing Manager at the VOG Consortium. “We began distributing it in South Tyrol – Südtirol, in the VOG cooperatives’ shops, as a free gift for those who bought Marlene® apples on Mother’s Day. We also organised opportunities to distribute it and reach our distributors all over Europe.

The Marlene® nymph, created by Italian artist Francesca Cito, is the work selected from the 6,000 participants in the international art competition to celebrate Marlene®’s 25th anniversary, which involved 36 countries around the world. Surrounded by apple orchards and with a radiant, dreamy face, the winning work represents the Marlene® world and the Alpine landscape where the apples are grown.

In the year of the celebrations, until July 2021, the illustration will define Marlene®’s look on stickers, packs and all promotional materials such as shopping bags, bringing a burst of colour and beauty to points of sale.

In April and May, the joyous shopping bag was sent to several Marlene® customers in Italy in the wholesale and large-scale distribution markets. Wholesalers in Spain and Benelux were targeted, while in Jordan the focus was on fruit and vegetable markets and retail shops. In Malta, initiatives have focused on greengrocers and supermarkets.

“This is a small gift that our customers can give to consumers,” concludes Hannes Tauber. “It is one of the many promotional activities that we are conducting to mark Marlene®’s 25th anniversary. The goal is to bring art closer to people, into their daily lives to kindle the spark of creativity and taste. Marlene® is not just any apple, but the daughter of the Alps, and its flavour can transport consumers’ imagination to the mountains, where it grows firm and succulent.”

 

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Europatat Congress 2021 – Registrations are open!

Europatat Congress 2021 – Registrations are open!
Press Release

Europatat, the European Potato Trade Association, is excited to announce the opening of registrations for its upcoming annual Europatat Congress that will be organised on Thursday, 10th of June in a virtual format. This year’s event is open to the whole potato sector (registration is free of charge). Register today and don’t miss the opportunity to join the annual gathering of the European potato community!

Click here for the Registration:

Under the slogan “Stay connected – new strategies for the potato sector”, this special edition of the Europatat Congress will explore how the potato sector can benefit the most from digitalisation. Opening a two-hour virtual event moderated by Jean-Paul Judson (Founder of Nowmore), the Digital Expert Ömer Atiker will give an energising and inspiring keynote speech on how to use new digital possibilities to improve the daily operations of all types of companies and organisations operating in the potato sector. Watch this video to get a sneak peek of his charming style and get ready for an unconventional and engaging discussion full of surprises!

Other confirmed speakers include Anthony Atlas, Head of Product and Growth of ClimateAi; Lilian Escalon, Director HZPC Europe; and Felipe Medina, Technical Secretary General of ASEDAS and member of the European Economic and Social Committee. They will share their insights on the challenges and benefits that digitalisation can offer to the potato sector. Finally, Liam Glennon, Chairperson of the Local Organising Committee of the World Potato Congress in Dublin, will give an overview of the programme and activities planned for this unique potato event that will take place in Dublin (Ireland) from 30 May to 2 June 2022. Visit www.europatatcongress.eu and find more information about the programme, speakers and sponsorship opportunities

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Second edition of Morocco Berry Conference attracts international audience

Second edition of Morocco Berry Conference attracts international audience

The second edition of the Morocco Berry Conference, held online on 7-8 April 2021, attracted a remarkable 550 visitors from 50 different countries. The event’s virtual platform offered a series of presentations mostly related to growing berries and associated technical issues. As the platform remained open for 30 days, visitors could watch replays of the conferences, download presentations, visit booths, views videos, search for documentation, get in touch with sales representatives and network with fellow participants via chat messaging.

A multinational perspective was guaranteed by the colourful spectrum of speakers. From the US, Bernadine Strik discussed blueberry physiology and the pruning of blackberries. Sebastián Ochoa from Chile presented his studies on a substrate blueberry farm. From México, Miguel Ahumada explained trellising for raspberries. And from the Netherlands, Cindy Van Rijswick of Rabobank gave a global perspective of the international berry market. Morocco´s speaker was Amine Bennani, chairman of the national soft fruit producer’s association, who analysed data about the soft fruit industry in Morocco. Then, Dr Redouane ChoukrAllah gave a presentation on water scarcity. From South Africa, Pieter Zietsman talked about irrigation, before James Dick presented his views on pruning Southern Highbush blueberry crops. Finally, Elzette Schutte, from the Berries SA association, closed the conference by detailing the berry situation in South Africa.

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First USDA Food Loss and Waste Innovation Fair

First USDA Food Loss and Waste Innovation Fair

The USDA is to host the first-ever Food Loss and Waste Innovation Fair on May 26 (12-4 p.m. ET), to showcase USDA investments and business leadership in reducing food loss and waste throughout the food system.

“In the U.S., more than one-third of all available food goes uneaten through food loss or waste,” said USDA Food Loss and Waste Liaison Jean Buzby. “USDA is proud to highlight public and private leaders who are transforming the food system and combatting food loss and waste.”

The Innovation Fair will present businesses and research teams that have received USDA funding to research or commercialize cutting-edge food loss and waste solutions. Additionally, several USDA agencies – such as the Agricultural Research Service and the Food Safety and Inspection Service – will discuss their food loss and waste activities in research, measurement, education, funding, and outreach. Other presenters include several U.S. Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champions, businesses that have committed to reducing food loss and waste in their operations by 50 percent by 2030. The 2030 Champions initiative is co-led by USDA and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Among the presenters:

Lake County, Illinois received a USDA grant for a pilot community compost project. Activities include conducting a compost-to-farmland demonstration study, engaging community gardeners through education and outreach, and reducing and diverting food waste from landfills.

En Solución (Austin, Texas) was funded by a USDA Small Business Innovation Research grant to develop and deploy a sanitizer made from ozone nanobubbles to wash harvested produce. This technology has great potential to increase food safety and extend produce shelf life.

ReGrained (San Francisco, California) collaborated with USDA’s Agricultural Research Service to develop patent-pending technology to dry and process brewers’ grains into healthy, high-quality flours, transforming food waste into value-added – and tasty – products.

Sodexo, a global food service and facilities management corporation, will highlight their change management and operational engagement strategy to cut food waste in half by 2025 to reach their 2030 Champions target early.

 

This free, virtual event will feature virtual booths where visitors can learn about state-of-the-art solutions from business, government, and academic innovators. Attendees can text chat with representatives and other guests, watch videos, and download reports and other materials.

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Smaller Spanish stone fruit crop forecast

Smaller Spanish stone fruit crop forecast

© Public domain (source: Flickr)

 

After a disappointing 2020 stonefruit campaign in Spain, when a 30% decline in volume was registered, this season is expected to be little better. Last season’s crop was hit by excessive rainfall, which led to poor flowering and fruit set. As the official stone fruit season gets underway, the main producer of the Valencian Community, the San Bernat de Carlet Agricultural Cooperative, expects smaller volumes but is generally optimistic about this year’s campaign.

Speaking to Mercados Revista, Rafael Cosme, managing director of the cooperative, said: “Despite having less fruit, the development of the fruit on the tree is currently better than last year.” The fruit quality overall is expected to be better than last year. 

In the 90s, the cooperative sold more than 30 million kg of stone fruit, but this year’s crop is expected to barely reach 5 million kg.

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Freshfel to celebrate its 20 years at 2021 Annual Event

Freshfel to celebrate its 20 years at 2021 Annual Event

Freshfel Europe’s Annual Event, to be held online on 4 June 2021, will also be the occasion for marking the organisation’s 20th anniversary, as well as the UN International Year of Fruits and Vegetables 2021. The exclusive event will be an opportunity for the European fresh produce sector to discuss policy in the EU arena. Four sessions will offer detailed insights into opportunities for the sector. Crucial market and EU policy opportunities will be examined, such as how to capitalise on the European Green Deals’ objectives and green, health conscious tech-savvy consumers.

Freshfel Europe general delegate Philippe Binard said: “2021 is a unique year for the fresh fruit and vegetable sector marking both the 20th anniversary of Freshfel Europe as the peak EU-level representative body for the fresh produce sector in Brussels as well as the UN International Year of Fruits and Vegetables. Without doubt 2021 is a key year for the sector in the public eye as an essential sector for a healthy and sustainable future for all citizens. In order to mark this special year the association is opening its doors for all operators and stakeholders in the fresh produce sector to join the celebrations at our Annual Event along with our members. This year should be celebrated by all actors across the supply chain as a milestone year for the fresh produce sector.”

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SANDI seduces European consumers

SANDI seduces European consumers
Press Release

Last year, the watermelon, with 10,600 hectares (and a production of 608,000 tons), ranked second in Almeria, just behind pepper and above tomato

South-eastern Spain is the only producing area in Europe that since the middle of April is able to put watermelons of the highest quality and extraordinary flavour on the market. This was made clear during the presentation of the SANDI “The first European watermelon” promotion and information campaign, launched by COEXPHAL and HORTIESPAÑA, in collaboration with the Almería Provincial Council and its “Sabores de Almería” brand.

The president of COEXPHAL, Juan Antonio González Real, wanted to “publicly thank all the marketers associated with COEXPHAL who are collaborating by contributing their watermelons within the framework of this campaign, which, as you know, began last year, in April, in full lockdown. There was no chance to present our SANDI last year, so I want to invite all Spanish and European consumers to share the sweetness, quality and great flavour of this fruit that has become the first flavour of the summer”.

HORTIESPAÑA’s president Francisco Góngora noted that this campaign is fundamentally based on direct actions and on social networks. “The success of this project is corroborated by the numbers offered by the audience – last year, more than 200,000 people were impacted by SANDI through social networks. For 2021, falling in love with Sandi is the theme of humorous memes on social networks, to once again promote the consumption of the rich watermelon grown in the solar greenhouses of Almería and Granada. Furthermore, as a novelty, the campaign has a website www.laprimerasandiaeuropea.es where watermelon data, curiosities and recipes with different chefs will soon be available,” Góngora said.

The president of the Almería Provincial Council, Javier A. García, was satisfied to be able to collaborate in an initiative that values ​​the horticultural production of the province of Almería: “We have to highlight a watermelon that is made in solar greenhouses, in environmentally friendly facilities, which are a sink for Co2 emissions. The first European watermelon is possible thanks to the work of thousands of people who grow and produce health for all of Europe,” he said.

García added: “We are proud that 70% of the exported watermelons are from Almería and that our province is the cradle of the Mediterranean diet. The first European watermelon is very good because it makes us feel proud of our land and of what the people of Almeria do.”

Watermelon, second place in the Almeria garden

The manager of COEXPHAL, Luis Miguel Fernández, presented forecasts for this campaign regarding melon and watermelon. “For the entire 2021 cycle, the estimates compiled for COEXPHAL companies show an increase in watermelon production of around 3%, with a clear trend towards black seedless (up 4%). The mini sizes have also shown increases of around 7%. Organic production is growing faster than conventional, with 6% growth expected.”

Fernández also highlighted “the increase in the watermelon area in recent seasons, which has doubled in just 10 years. Last year, watermelon, with 10,600 hectares (and a production of 608,000 tons), ranked second in Almeria, just behind pepper and above tomato.”

As for melon, “the forecasts show a 3% drop in production. The only types that are increasing are Cantaloupe and Piel de Sapo. For the Galia and Yellow melons, although they are still the ones that occupy the largest proportion of surface area, a fall in the harvest is expected. Organic production is showing a worse trend than conventional: forecasts indicate a drop of close to 10%. In recent seasons, the surface area and production has stabilised at around 2,800 hectares and 122,000 tons. However, it will be necessary to closely follow this cycle to know whether the forecasts are finally realised. It should be remembered that 10 years ago, the area exceeded 4,000 hectares,” said the manager of COEXPHAL.

 

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Strikes compromise start of Argentine lemon campaign

Strikes compromise start of Argentine lemon campaign © Radio ATE FM Argentina

© Radio ATE FM Argentina

 

The start of Argentina’s lemon season has been hit by a series of strikes in the country’s main production region, Tucuman. Self-organising workers blocked roads in different points of the province and prevented the passage of trucks transporting citrus, according to La Nación. The blockades also take place at the accesses to farms and packing plants.

The protesters reportedly rejected the 40.6% salary increase agreed last March between the Argentine Union of Rural Workers and Stevedores (Uatre) and the Citrus Association of Northwest Argentina (Acnao), within the framework of the labour negotiations. The sector claims that the increase is actually 25%, while the remaining 15% corresponds to an increase that had been reached in 2020.

Víctor Santillán, one of the spokesmen of the self-convened harvesters, said: “We demand that they reopen the bargaining agreements because what they signed is a starvation agreement. They say that 40% is an achievement, but it is 25% with 15% from last year. We earn a wage of 1700 pesos (US$18), which with taxes is 1350 pesos (US$14). It is not enough for anything.” 

The workers are demanding the reopening of the labour unions to set a daily wage of 2,500 pesos (US$27).

Meanwhile, Acnoa and Uatre defended the agreement reached in March and alleged that there were political interests behind the protest. The entities reportedly warned that “minority sectors outside the activity with political interests are carrying out roadblocks and blocking access to farms and production facilities, thus paralysing the functioning and operation of the companies and workers at the beginning of the citrus season”.

The development comes just after the European Union announced that it had revoked a ban on Argentina citrus imports implemented in August due to a high number of citrus black spot interceptions.