EU Australia Online - News & information from the capital of Europe direct to Australian businesses

Shake-up of Fruit and Vegetables Business

  • January 25th, 2007
  • Posted by EUEditor

fischer-boel-resize.jpgThe next step in restructuring of European agriculture is being taken with proposals for legislation giving more power, and money, to industry organisations, to manage their own affairs.

The European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mariann Fischer Boel, announced (24.1.07) she would take a package of proposals to the European Council and European Parliament this week.

The plan follows earlier drafts, transferring money from subsidies connected to production, to support industry organisations with their marketing and expansion.

The Commissioner said the industry was under pressure from supermarkets, buying directly from growers instead of through their organisations, in several countries controlling as much as 70% of the retail market..

The EU was urging fruit and vegetable producers to join recognised organisations, which would be funded at a high level to promote sales and conduct their own marketing.

They would be encouraged to build up more competitiveness, and promote more consumption of fruit and vegetables on health grounds.

Growers would be able to get 50% subsidies on promotional drives, and on expansion into more organic food production, popular with consumers.

A proposal for a prices monitoring agency did not make it into the final plan, and Ms Fischer Boel was asked about better wholesale prices being passed on as higher prices for consumers in the supermarkets.

“There will be no downward movement of prices”, she said.

There was no plan to tighten up against imports into Europe which helped keep a full range of products available in all seasons, as import tariffs in the sector were already “very low”.


EUAustralia, “Sorting the Apples and the Oranges”,

Reform of the Fruit and Vegetable Sector, EC Brussels, January 2007; (24.1.07)

Picture: Announcement at the European Commission