A new Board of Directors has been elected at Belgian cooperative BelOrta, with the Board deciding on Marc Smets to succeed Dirk Bertels as the new chairman

Last week, members of Belgium’s BelOrta elected a new Board of Directors during the cooperative’s general meeting. The new board’s first move was to elect Marc Smets as the new chairman to succeed the outgoing Dirk Bertels. 

A tomato grower in Sint-Katelijne-Waver since 1991, Smets became a member of the Board of Directors of the Mechelen Auctions in 2004, and of BelOrta since 2013. In 2021, he became chairman of the Tomato Product Advisory Group and also sits on several boards associated with the Belgian auction sector.

BelOrta chairman and vice chairmen

(l-r) Danny Raskin, Marc Smets, Peter Aarts and Karel Bosschaerts

Smets will be assisted by vice-chairmen Peter Aarts, Danny Raskin and Karel Bosschaerts. Aarts is a cucumber grower in Asten, the Netherlands. In 2022, he became a member of the Board of Directors and chairman of the Cucumber Product Advisory Group and Growers’ Advisory Group for Autumn Cultivation of Tomato. 

Raskin, a fruit grower in Romershoven-Hoeselt, has been a member of the Board of Directors of Veiling Borgloon since 1983. Since 2014, he has been vice-chairman of the Board of Directors of BelOrta and chairman of the Top Fruit Product Advisory Group since 2018, a mandate that has been reconfirmed.

Lastly, Bosschaerts grows various open field vegetables in Putte, in addition to greenhouse vegetables. In 2021, he was elected as a BelOrta board member and took over the chairmanship of various Product and Grower Advisory Groups.

BelOrta experienced significant growth in 2023, according to the cooperative, in part thanks to the integration of the BFV auction, with affiliated growers achieving a global product turnover of €583m. 

During the General Meeting, it was confirmed that the necessary resources would be provided for a significant cooperative return for 2024, with the aim of “continuing to reduce costs for our loyal fruit and vegetable growers without sacrificing service and commercial strength”.