The consultation is part of a review of sector reforms that came in in 2007 and will look out how the sector’s competitiveness and resilience could be improved.
The EC said recent market crises – such as the deadly E.coli outbreak in Germany last year – and the “persistent imbalance” in the bargaining power of fresh produce producers against distributors meant it was necessary to examine whether changes were needed to the 2007 reforms.
The consultation will seek views on increasing consumption of fruit and veg consumption in the European Union, improving production sustainability and resourcing efficiency, as well as simplifying the management of the EU’s regime on fruit and vegetables. It will also examine how producers can increase their “share of value” in the fresh produce supply chain, possibly by improving the bargaining power of producers.
The EC is putting forward four options for its future approach to the sector. These are:
1.keeping the status quo;
2.introducing a package of new measures to strengthen producer organisations and encourage better co-operation between producers;
3.transferring some support measures for producers to rural development programmes (the ‘second pillar’); and
4.getting rid of a separate support regime for the fruit and veg sector and transferring everything to the second pillar.
The consultation runs until 9 September, with a report to be published next May. Any changes to the current regime would come into force in 2014.
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