Tag Archives: Europe

EU tomato production expected to reduce in 2018

Overall tomato production within the European Union is expected to decrease this year due to significant reductions in outdoor production of processing crops in Spain.

The latest EU figures show that production last year was some 3 per cent higher (at a total of 18.5 million tonnes) than in 2016, again driven by an increase in processing crop production as fresh crop output actually fell by 2 per cent.

The forecast production of Iberian crops is expected to be 22 per cent lower this season, with some 3,000 less hectares planted in Extramadura alone – largely due to the wet weather and thunder storms seen in April and May. Trade body TomatoEurope expects the overall production of process types of tomatoes to be some 12 per cent lower than last year, although the output from Portugal and Italy is expected to be in line with previous years.

It is also important to note that these forecasts were made before the recent very hot weather, and does not account for any effect on final yields which may result.

The post EU tomato production expected to reduce in 2018 appeared first on Hort News on 1 August 2018.

Heat wave will affect winter veg harvest at home and abroad

While rains over the weekend have provided some respite to growers around the country, the industry is warning that the prolonged heat wave, which left some areas without rain for almost three months, will have longer term effects on the availability of vegetables across Europe.

Warnings have already been issued about the yields of traditional ‘winter’ veg crops such as carrots, onions and potatoes, but brassica growers are also warning of breaks in continuity and areas which have been too dry to allow the planting of winter crops.

Greville Richards, managing director of Southern England Farms, told the Fresh Produce Journal: “We’ve got some areas in Cornwall now that we just can’t plant because it’s so dry and we’re getting quite concerned now about our winter crops… we’re getting really worried about what we’re planting now for the winter months because it’s just getting too dry to plant.”

A number of potato growers have already said that they are unlikely to fulfil contracted volumes, and it is unlikely that suppliers will be able to import crop from Europe to fill the gap. The German Association of the Fruit, Vegetable, and Potato Processing Industry says that it expects a smaller, lower-quality potato crop, while the Swedish Farmers Association estimates its members could lose SEK8bn (~EUR 7.79bn).

Photo Caption: The canopy on many potato crops is still not meeting across the rows.

Photo Credit: flickr

The post Heat wave will affect winter veg harvest at home and abroad appeared first on Hort News on 1 August 2018.

EU farm groups call for end to uncertainties

European farming groups have united to urge the European Union to minimise the impact of uncertainties on trade and Brexit, and to call for more coherent European policies.

Speaking in Brussels after a meeting with 66 presidents of farmers and cooperative organisations across the EU, president of European farm union Copa, Joachim Rukwied, warned, “We are disappointed with the EU Commission proposal on the future CAP. It is unacceptable that more and more is being asked of farmers in terms of respecting tough food safety, welfare and environmental requirements for less and less money. Another major concern is the fact that the technology toolbox that farmers rely on to maintain their competitiveness is being eroded every day. We are very proud of our production standards. More coherence between policies is vital to ensure that they are maintained.

“We cannot accept that our standards in the trade talks with the Latin American trade bloc Mercosur are weakened or that our farmers are penalised for respecting them by being subject to unfair competition. Trade concessions must be minimized for our more sensitive sectors.”

Cogeca president Thomas Magnusson added, “It is in our common interest to develop good, balanced trading relations between the farming community in the EU and other parts of the world. The potential misuse of free trade agreements by our trading partners could seriously undermine the credibility of these agreements.”

 Photo Credit: Copa Cogeca

The post EU farm groups call for end to uncertainties appeared first on Hort News on 21 June 2018.

Geographical protection for asparagus to continue after Brexit

Geographical protection of products such as Vale of Evesham Asparagus, which is currently provided under the EU’s protected geographical indication (PGI) scheme, is expected to continue after Brexit according to MPs.

In answer to a question from Mid-Worcestershire MP Nigel Huddleston, Food Minister, George Eustice said that it is the Government’s intention to transfer the existing PGI legislation across into UK law.

According to the Evesham Journal, Mr Huddleston commented, “I was delighted to hear the minister confirm that it is his intention for the existing PGI designations to continue to be recognised post-Brexit and know that this will be welcome news to many of my constituents too. The granting of PGI status by the EU can make a real difference to regional products like Vale of Evesham Asparagus by boosting brand recognition and sales.

“Vale of Evesham Asparagus is a source of great local pride and I was pleased that the Minister spoke of its fantastic reputation both across the country and around the world.”

Photo Credit: Pexels

The post Geographical protection for asparagus to continue after Brexit appeared first on Hort News on 21 March

Dutch ag. exports reach record high

According to the latest statistics from Statistics Netherlands (CBS) and Wageningen Economic Research, Dutch exports of agricultural goods reached a record level of €91.7 billion in 2017, exceeding the previous record in 2016 by more than 7 per cent.

Dutch agricultural imports and the nation’s agricultural surplus also reached record heights, as imports of agricultural goods increased by 9 per cent to €62.6 billion, while the agricultural surplus went up by almost 4 per cent to €29.1 billion.

The horticultural sector led the way, with horticulture including cut flowers, bulbs, plants and nursery products worth €9.1 billion. This was followed by dairy products (€8.9 billion), meat (€8.3 billion) and vegetables (€6.7 billion). The same ranking holds true if only domestically produced items are counted.  According to the CBS, ‘fruit ranks fifth on the list of top agricultural export goods, although this is largely re-exports of foreign produce.’

Germany is the top destination for Dutch agricultural exports, with €23.4 billion in agricultural goods crossing the Dutch border, equivalent to over 25 percent of total agricultural exports.

Germany was followed by Belgium (€10.4 billion), the UK (€8.6 billion) and France (€8.0 billion) as the largest buyers of agricultural products from the Netherlands.

Photo Caption: Horticulture topped Dutch exports, with vegetables and fruit in fourth and fifth place.

Photo Credit: Statistics Netherlands (CBS)

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Should gene edited crops be exempt from GMO rules?

The European court’s Advocate General has determined that organisms derived by gene editing technologies are exempt from wider EU rules on growing and marketing genetically modified (GM) food.

In a release last week, Advocate General Michel Bobek suggested that the EU’s GMO Directive ‘does not … apply to organisms obtained through certain techniques of genetic modification, such as mutagenesis (‘the mutagenesis exemption’).’

Unlike transgenesis, mutagenesis does not, in principle, entail the insertion of foreign DNA into a living organism. It does, however, involve an alteration of the genome of a living species. The mutagenesis techniques have made it possible to develop seed varieties with elements resistant to a selective herbicide.

Dr Michael Antoniou, the head of the molecular genetics department at King’s College London, said exempting new plant-breeding technologies from GM laws was “wrong and potentially dangerous”.

“None of these gene editing methods are perfect,” he told the Guardian. “They have ‘off target’ effects that can inadvertently disturb the biochemistry of organisms leading to unintended outcomes which – if you’re making a new gene edited food crop, for example – could result in the unexpected production of a new toxin or allergenic substance.”

However, John Brennan, secretary-general of the biotechnology lobby group EuropaBio, said, “The advocate general’s opinion demonstrates that necessary steps are being taken towards clarifying the regulatory status of products that have been developed using the latest biotechnological tools and applications. We trust that the forthcoming ruling will contribute to establishing regulatory clarity.”

The Advocate General’s Opinion is not binding on the Court of Justice.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

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Seed breeders say impact of Brexit not appreciated

Representatives of the seed industry have told the Fresh Produce Journal that Defra has shown a “heartbreaking” lack of awareness of the potential effects of Brexit on the plant breeding and seed production sector.

There are fears that unless issues are addressed, UK farmers and growers could lose access to many varieties and that seed businesses could move away from the UK in order to maintain international and European links. Other issues include the potential loss of a common variety list and additional phytosanitary requirements.

Chief executive of the British Society for Plant Breeders (BSPB), Penny Mapleston, said, “Breeders will only be able to absorb the higher costs of registering new varieties if there is a guaranteed market. The number of varieties available in the UK market will be less. Fairly swiftly you will see production move overseas, where we will just import it back.”

Global seed breeder Rijk Zwaan’s country manager for the UK, Gerard van der Hut, commented, “What will happen is we will only register the variety we can sell. With new varieties if there’s not enough demand in the UK then we won’t sell them, so the choice given to the UK market could be limited.”

Photo Credit: pxhere

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UK less attractive destination for foreign workers

The UK is less attractive as a global destination for workers following the Brexit vote according to new research from accountancy firm BDO.

The data shows that having been in second place globally in the index in 2012, the UK has now dropped out of the top five global destinations for workers with a score of 19 per cent. The top five global destinations for workers were the USA (at 24%), followed by Germany, Switzerland, Australia and Canada (all at 20%). The survey also said that 18 per cent of employees around the world would be likely to take up a new full time job in another country for up to two years if it offered them a pay rise.

Respondents were asked to pick their top three work destinations to work. According to BDO, geography, common language, culture and business practices are among the main factors which influence where employees are most likely to move.

Paul Eagland, managing partner at BDO said, “UK businesses are already struggling with a skills shortage. The impact of the EU referendum and uncertainty around a new trade deal is likely to make this worse. It’s absolutely imperative that the Government makes it clear to the world that the UK is still a great place to do business and that we continue to attract the world’s brightest and best to our country.”

Photo Caption: The UK has slipped out the top five work destinations for overseas workers according to a new report.

Photo Credit: pxhere

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North-west European potato harvest estimate rises

The North-Western European Potato Growers (NEPG) group has increased its estimate for the region’s potato harvest from its earlier figure published in September. NEPG now estimates the total harvest for the five countries represented (the UK, France, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands) at 28.9 million tonnes.

Although final yields in the UK are not yet available, and some 10-15 per cent of the Dutch acreage is still to be harvested because of wet weather, NEPG estimates the total crop is 17.7 per cent higher than last year and 15.6 per cent higher than the five-year average. With yield per hectare up in all countries apart from the UK, where the figure is still unknown, the total yield is slightly above that recorded in 2014, which was the largest figure on record.

However, while overall yields are up, variability is high, particularly in France and Belgium. Overall crop quality is described as good, but losses are expected to be above normal levels and some questions remain about the storability of crops harvested in wet conditions. Dry matters are also low in many instances, with many crops of Bintje and Fontane in the Benelux countries being below the specified minimum levels for starch processing.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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BerryWorld creates Spanish subsidiary

The BerryWorld group has expanded its PrepWorld subsidiary to Spain, creating what it says is a fresh-cut fruit supplier with a ‘distinctly Spanish twist and flair.’

The new Valencia-based company is a joint venture with Spanish soft fruit grower and exporter Surexport Compañia Agraria. It will be headed up by general manager Pepe Morant, who has extensive experience of fresh produce in both Spain and the UK, most recently as General Manager of Del Monte Spain.

“We have been evaluating the potential of establishing a Spanish prepared fruit business with our partners at Surexport for a number of years,” said BerryWorld’s managing director Ben Olins. “We believe that the factors that have made PrepWorld successful in the UK, a focus on quality, innovation and high technical standards, will work well in the Spanish market.”

Surexport managing director Andres Morales added: “With the expertise of our partners in a more mature market for prep and our knowledge in production and premium varieties, we will bring delicious, high-quality, healthy products to the Spanish consumer.”

Photo Credit: BerryWorld

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