Producers are facing tougher regulation, climate change and digitalisation

Fepex general assembly

The new regulatory framework for the fruit and vegetable sector, climate change and digitalisation and technological innovation dominated discussion at the general assembly of Spanish fruit and vegetable exporter federation Fepex, which took place in on Tuesday.

Representatives from the main production regions met in Lleida to discuss key challenges and opportunities facing the sector.

They heard from Fepex director José María Pozancos how new laws in Spain on packaging, nutrition, the use of phytosanitary products and new information systems are causing concern for the regulatory burden they will impose on producers at an already difficult time.

Antonio Ruiz de Elvira, professor of applied physics at the University of Alcalá de Henares, explained how climate change is impacting production, noting that the Mediterranean region is likely to face increasingly intense and frequent floods in the future.

To address this it will be necessary to implement a massive reforestation programme in mountains and hills of coastal areas, as well as to improve channelling for better distribution of rainfall.

The meeting also included a round table discussion on the opportunities for digitisation and technological innovation. Jose Luis Molina, CEO of Hispatec, highlighted the importance of having adequate digital tools to achieve the highest possible yields at all stages of the production and marketing process.

The director of agri-food innovation at Cajamar, Roberto García Torrente, noted that a large part of the sector is already in the process of adapting to digitisation. He urged producers who have not yet started to make the change.

Delegates heard that there is a wide range of public finance available for companies seeking to digitise their processes.

Then María Jose Sánchez, director of Fruit Attraction (which sponsored the assembly) gave an update on the next edition of the fair, which takes place on 3-5 October.