Coproduction as a way forward for the development of agricultural industries in the Mediterranean and Africa?

Logo medFEL16 - artcile IPEMEDFor the second time, IPEMED is taking part in the Euro-Mediterranean fruit and vegetable trade fair, MEDFEL, which in 2016 is being held in Perpignan on 26 April. This trade fair brings together 240 producers and transporters of fresh fruit and vegetables from around the Mediterranean and boasts over 5000 participants every year. The opening session of this eighth edition will focus on the theme “The Mediterranean, a bridge between Europe and Africa”, and Jean-Louis Guigou, President of IPEMED, will be speaking.

The Mediterranean can be seen as a bridge between Europe and Africa in a number of ways. This is particularly true for the agricultural and agri-food sector, for which the concept of coproduction is very appropriate,” says Jean-Louis Guigou. “Given the food security needs in the South, it is important not to focus on a purely commercial approach but to look for new models of cooperation which take into account the need to develop agricultural industries and agribusiness in Africa. From this perspective, it is interesting to look at what the Avril group has achieved in the oil seed sector, by developing a long-term partnership with Morocco, and structuring the industry in a way which takes the local context into account. This win-win model therefore opens up new opportunities to turn Africa into a new source of sustainable growth both for European and southern Mediterranean stakeholders.”

The fruit and vegetable market has some unique key features. Growing these crops requires a lot of water. However, access to water is one of the major issues for the future of this region, where water stress is a reality. Many countries need to optimise their production and diversify their markets. In this context, coproduction could involve, for example, agreements taking into account the complementarity of production calendars and the range of sales opportunities for fruits and vegetables.

With 54 countries, 30 million square kilometres and a population of over one billion, Africa is an essential partner for the Mediterranean region.

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