FruitVegetablesEUROPE calls upon the European Commission for more flexibility in the implementation of the operational programmes in the fruit and vegetables sector to fight the negative impact of the COVID-19.

“EU fruit and vegetables producers are guaranteeing the maintaining of the supply in order to put
food on our tables”

The EU fruit and vegetables producers are also on the front line battle against the COVID-19.

EU producers ask for more flexibility in the implementation of the operational programmes in the
fruit and vegetables sector.

EU producers are not asking for a supplementary budget. Funding for the measure requested can
be drawn from exiting budget lines (operational programmes allocated to the fruit and vegetables
sector).

There is a need to amend article 1 of the draft delegated regulation of the Commission regarding
the exceptional measures by Covid-19.

Brussels, 24/04/2020. FruitvegetablesEUROPE has sent a letter to Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Janusz Wojciechowski, to reiterate EU producers deep concern regarding the COVID-19 crisis and its negative impact on the European fruit and vegetables sector.

In the letter, FruitvegetablesEUROPE welcomes the measures announced by the Commission on 22nd April which are looking to increasing flexibility in fruit and vegetables sectoral programmes. Nevertheless, FruitvegetablesEUROPE considers that the measures are completely not enough for the EU fruit and vegetables sector. FruitvegetablesEUROPE also recalled that adequate measures need to be adopted and implemented as long as the social and economic crises created by the COVID-19 pandemic are not finished.

Therefore, the European fruit and vegetables Association has requested the European Commission to temporary derogate Regulation (EU) No 1308/2013, applying to fruit and vegetables producer organizations, to have more flexibility on the implementation of the operational programmes.

FruitvegetablesEUROPE estimates that the modification will allow to enhance the approved budgets, making the adjustments more flexible and allowing the inclusion of certain costs that the producers will not be able to be made due to the exceptional situation created by the COVID-19.

The derogation should allow the inclusion, on an exceptional basis, of measures that contribute to the sustainability of the activity of associated producers and producer organizations in the annual expense’s concepts for this year 2020. FruitvegetablesEUROPE has proposed to include:

 

  • General expenses related to section 1 of Annex II of the Commission Delegated Regulation EU 2017/891, as well as the extraordinary direct expenses attributable to the application of the protection protocols against Covid-19 (protection material and extraordinary personnel transportation expenses). Furthermore, using approved funds for withdrawals should be allowed.
  • Current production expenses, such as seeds, plants, plant protection products, fertilizers, etc, should also be allowed.
  • Additionally, it should be crucial to allow producer organisations to request the increasement of the Union financial support to 4,6%, when the support reported and granted has been less than that percentage.

Finally, FruitvegetablesEUROPE requested the amendment of article 1 of the Commission draft delegated regulation regarding the exceptional measures by Covid-19 in order to include the general production expenses (included in section 1 of Annex 2 of Delegated Regulation 2017/891) and the exceptional expenses resulting from the Covid-19.

FruitvegetablesEUROPE, as the main EU sectoral Association representing the EU fruit and vegetables producers, will continue working, vis-à-vis, the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council to obtain measures adapted to the COVID-19 reality and to alleviate its negative impact on the fruit and vegetable sector. Furthermore, FruitvegetablesEUROPE will continue promoting the EU production models and the consumption of EU fruit and vegetables through its European promotion programme “CuTE – Cultivating the Taste of Europe”.

“As the sanitary sector, the EU fruit and vegetables producers are also on the front line battle against the COVID-19. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, all the EU fruit and vegetables producers have been working intensively in the fields and in the warehouses. At the same time, they are also ensuring that the factories, the logistics, the distribution, the marketing, and the points of sale
around the EU are functioning well to guaranteeing the maintaining of the supply in order “to put food on
our tables”. These vast efforts have extra costs and producers must be helped.”

Juan Marín

President of FruitVegetablesEurope (EUCOFEL)

 “The EU market disturbances in the fruit and vegetables sector are real, several sectors are suffering from the consequences of the COVID-19 (extra costs for transportation, decrease in consumption, difficulty to have seasonal workers, etc.). The response to this global sanitary, social and economic crisis should be European. So, the EU should pledge to propose EU-wide measures that would reassure EU markets, producers and consumers alike.”

Alba Ridao-Bouloumié

Secretariat General of FruitVegetablesEUROPE (EUCOFEL)

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