A new study of national strategies for sustainable operational programmes in the fruit and vegetables sector in Europe between 2013 and 2018 has been published by the European Union.
The study shows that operational programmes implemented by producer organisations have proved to be successful in improving attractiveness of POs membership, promoting concentration of supply and placing on the market, boosting the commercial value of products, as well as ensuring that production is adjusted to demand.
The data collected also indicates that operational programmes have had a positive impact on the sector when it comes to improving competitiveness, protecting and maintaining the environment, and preventing and managing crises, reinforcing other policies pursuing similar objectives like rural development measures. In particular, the stakeholders mentioned the positive opportunities that arise from being member, such as better market positioning, improved access to equipment, access to investment and technical assistance, access to crop insurance and increased resilience to shocks (including price stability).
To help producers undergoing difficulties or crisis, market withdrawal and harvest insurance schemes were often used. Marketing, promotion and communication activities can also be used for the purpose of crisis prevention and management but have been mobilised to a lesser extent, although the report highlighted that different countries tend to favour different mechanisms.
In 2020, there were 1,603 producer organisations and 31 transnational producer organisations in the fruit and vegetables sector in the EU27. The highest number of recognised producer organisations in this sector were in Spain (527), Italy (289), France (220), Poland (196) and Greece (128).