2022 is a very difficult year for Belgian apple sector, says farmers' association
The Belgian apple sector is experiencing a very difficult year, said the Boerenbond (the Belgian farmers' association) on Thursday, at the start of the picking season. The interest group pleads to promote Belgian apples, for example by indicating the origin in the shops. "But more is needed. There should be consultation with all chain partners", says spokeswoman Vanessa Saenen.
The apple sector in Belgium is struggling with small margins and major uncertainties, she says. "There are the rising costs for, among other things, packaging, energy, inflation in labour costs, the extreme weather, disrupted sales markets, but also the falling consumption of hard fruit, which mean that Belgian apple growers have ended up in unprecedentedly difficult circumstances today." Many of the problems are not new, but the crisis in Ukraine is putting things on edge, according to the spokeswoman, as it has saturated the market across Europe.
Belgian apples have to compete with cheap imports. For the consumer, it is not always clear which apples are locally grown. The Boerenbond therefore pleads for a clear indication of origin in the shops. But more is needed, it sounds, and so the organisation wants a sector-wide plan in which all chain partners cooperate. "In the past ten years, the total area with apples in Belgium has decreased by 30 percent, while prices remain dramatically low. It is not our intention to grow even fewer apples, but we do want a better price," says the spokesperson.
© BELGA PHOTO VIRGINIE LEFOUR