French tomatoes

Four tomato and cucumber producer cooperatives from the West of France, Solarenn, Kultive, Océane and Vitaprim, have announced the launch of an association of producer organisations (AOP) dedicated to marketing, according to a report from Ouest-France.

The aim of the association, dubbed Maraîchers Français, is to combine supplies at particular times of year in order to meet the needs of producers or distributors, to avoid crisis situations or loss of value, and to highlight French production.

'Our objective is to consolidate volumes at certain times of the year to respond collectively to clients and thus sell produce during periods of high production,' said Laurent Bergé, president of the AOP, as well as of Océane and the French association of producer organisations (AOPn), Tomates Et Concombres de France.

According to Ouest-France, Maraîchers Français is tasked with negotiating volumes and prices on targeted commercial actions that have been agreed at the start of the year with the large retailers.

Christophe Rousse, president of Solarenn, which produces around 30,000 tonnes of tomatoes a year, said the association was a way of accessing certain markets and estimated that 10-20 per cent of the company's production would be marketed by Maraîchers Français.

Discussions with retailers concerning the calendar of the year's promotional operations are reportedly underway, with other French producer organisations believed to be considering joining the association.