Freshfel Europe asks for support for the fruit and vegetable industry in the face of the embargo on Belarus
Freshfel Europe has urged European Union authorities to support the fresh produce sector due to the continuing restrictions resulting from the Belarusian embargo.
The embargo began at the beginning of the year, with no less than 500,000 tonnes of exports compromised, including 300,000 from Poland, and between 10,000 and 60,000 tonnes from Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands Bas, Greece and Italy. Belarus is the second country in terms of fresh produce exports for the EU behind the United Kingdom.
“This embargo is added to the Russian embargo not yet recovered, representing a loss of companies worth 2.5 billion euros, while the Algerian embargo represents a commercial loss of 200 million euros “, said Philippe Binard of Freshfel. “The fruit and vegetable sector is frustrated at being the spectator and the bargaining chip in a geopolitical dispute. In total, 3 billion euros of fresh produce activity must be repositioned each year.
In a recent statement, Freshfel noted the enormous challenges of market diversification as well as difficulties in refocusing planning around long-term orchard investments as well as business operations. Officials said companies with ties to Belarusian importers have “specific products and varieties” that are significantly affected.
Binard said Freshfel had passed on a plan to help protect the sector in the meantime.
“We have identified and submitted to the European Commission five different areas of activity and a total of 12 measures where mechanisms need to be introduced,” he said. “These cover EU market stability support, renewed efforts to open new markets, specific aspects related to Belarusian and Russian embargoes as well as specific issues related to customs procedures for re-export and transit”.
Freshfel said he will continue to monitor the embargo and will work closely with the commission as it tries to overcome the challenges.