For two days, all operators in the fruit and vegetable sector have an appointment in Perpignan. At Medfel we talk about business, contracts, technology but also rising production costs. Who will pay the bill?
A fine line-up of elected officials and agricultural officials thronged this Wednesday for the opening of the Medfel trade fair that will bring together the fruit and vegetable sector from all over France for two days. “The Farming Profession”Etienne Stoskopf confided to the Prefect, too often faces dangers such as hail, frost, drought, climate change, plum pox or the Drosophila fly for certain species. Today it’s nice to see all the players together to talk about economy and business in the good sense of the word.”
Indeed, after two years of absence, the show attracts all producers and buyers of fruit and vegetables from all over France and also from abroad. But many had in mind the current complicated situation due to rising energy costs and sometimes shortages of certain products. “There is a kind of sliding effect between the increase in cost prices, and thus ultimately sales, and the decrease in consumer purchasing power, explains Antonio Morales Abad the president of the Perpignan companies Alternéa and Legrobio. For our part, we agree to pay a little more to the farmers who supply us, we have to respect their work, and we also cut our margins in order to be competitive for our customers, that is the supermarkets and the resellers. How long can we last? Nobody knows”. Another problem for producers, following a doubling of fertilizer purchase prices, now points to an announced fertilizer shortage due to the war in Ukraine.
Digital solutions can be a solution. At least that is what the local company Agri Wave provides, which offers computer management systems to save farmers time. “By streamlining the most time-consuming tasks, shows the head of the company, the farmer reduces his salary costs and saves time to develop his activity, or find new customers, new opportunities”† The Medfel is also the place where innovation is of paramount importance.
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Away with plastic, long live cardboard
The so-called AGEC (anti-waste for a circular economy) law that came into effect this year is changing the habits of professionals. It prohibits plastic for packaging weighing less than 1.5 kg. At the fair, suppliers presented innovations such as these containers with transparent windows made of cellulose wadding, or these cardboard boxes cut in several places so that the consumer can see and appreciate the fruit inside. Again, the costs are much higher than with traditional plastic. Organic has yet another weapon, laser marking with which it is possible to stamp fruits and vegetables with the word “organic” on the surface without damaging the product. Ideal for bulk presentation. Another innovation is the nets for potatoes, for example, which are not made of plastic but of biodegradable cotton fibre. “But you have to know what you wantsays one producer, and the consumer must also accept a slight increase in sales prices in order not to pollute”.