Vegebe is active in various fields, ranging from the economy via environmental and social issues to food safety.
Vegebe takes part in a dynamic network of organisations such as UNIZO and FEVIA.
Together with other partners in the trade and processing industry OVPG/PTMV has been created (the platform for the trade in and processing of raw materials and products of plant origin).
Vegebe manages its secretariat in the FVPHouse in Berlare, together with the union of the Belgian potato trade and processing industry Belgapom and the importers & exporters of fresh fruit & vegetables.
in order to defend the interest on European level Vegebe is an active member of PROFEL.
VEGEBE cooperates with the agricultural organisations BB and ABS on a complete framework of reference for the contracts between the agricultural and horticultural companies on the one hand and trade and processing on the other hand. Thus there are uniform contracts that refer to the same quality parameters (Quality standards full-soil vegetables for the industry– Inagro edition 2010).
What is more, these contracts stipulate the obligation for the contracting parties in case of a dispute to call on a mediation scheme, that is managed jointly by the agricultural organisations ABS and BB and VEGEBE. This procedure has both a ruling in the first instance and the possibility of lodging an appeal.
Use of crop protection: the correct and minimum use of crop protection for the production of the vegetables meant for the VEGEBE companies is an absolute priority. Various initiatives were developed to this end:
- creation of cards that provide an overview per crop of the products permitted and the waiting times. For this VEGEBE cooperates with DRC (Residue Control Department of the Belgian Auctions);
- expansion of the recognitions for small productions;
- organisation of effectiveness studies and selectivity tests;
- the working group 'minor uses' of PROFEL.
Composition of statistics of the Belgian vegetable processing industry (contracted vegetables, finished product, employment, investments…).
The matter is being followed by the Vegebe working group on agriculture.
Numerous environmental dossiers in Flanders and the Walloon provinces are followed up by means of a working group on environment and processing :
- environmental permits (project adjustment BBT in cooperation with EPAS and VMM)
- Kyoto – energy ( Flanders and the Walloon provinces)
- use of groundwater (project Streekplatform - GOM West-Flanders)
- problem of sludge
- use of by-products as animal feed ( OVOCOM – product tab cards)
- effect of VLIMO (in cooperation with FEVIA and Unizo)
- various research projects for example in cooperation with KHBO Ostend concerning phosphate precipitation
- VEGEBE is also a partner in consultations with the regional environmental bodies on behalf of the vegetable processing industry.
VEGEBE is the partner on behalf of the employers for the vegetable processing industry also with regard to the elaboration of the biennial sector programme.
VEGEBE is part, via FEVIA, of the joint industrial committees 118 and 220 and the management board of the social fund for the food industry and of the 2nd pillar.
VEGEBE has worked out together with FEVIA and the unions a modern function classification for the workers in the vegetable processing industry, including new salary classes. This agreement has been published in the convention of 4/2/2011.
The coordination of this work is in the hands of the social working group of Vegebe.
In 2000 VEGEBE set up a food safety project for primary production via the CKC. It comprised:
- an audit of the agricultural companies by an accredited institution
- a verification by means of a sampling plan by an accredited institution
(crop protection and heavy metals).
Via the OVPG and AGROFRONT (the agricultural unions) this project has now been incorporated in the ICQM standard for the primary production of plants and vegetable products which is administrated by Vegaplan. This standard includes both elements concerning food safety, the environment and technological quality and has been recognised by the Federal food safety authority FAVV/AFSCA on 24/7/2006.
Since then the Vegaplan standard has been declared equivalent to the Dutch VVAk and VV aardappelen certificate and the German QS system.
VEGEBE has cooperated with Belgapom and Fresh Trade Belgium to compile the self checking Guide for PFV Trade and Processing (potatoes, fruit and vegetables). This guide falls within the scope of the Royal Decree on Autocontrol, traceability and the obligation to report of 14 November 2003 and has been officially recognised by the FAVV/AFSCA on 3/1/2007.
Companies from the primary production (Vegaplan) and the trade and processing industry (self checking guide) are enabled to have their self checking system certified in order to benefit from a lower contribution to the FAVV/AFSCA.
A benchmark of the check lists of other private systems such as BRC or IFS allows these companies to reduce their audit costs via a 'one stop audit'.
Via product and processing file cards for animal feed also the by-products of these companies can be covered by this food safety certificat.
Vegebe has also taken a number of initiatives on sustainability and the reduction of food losses.
These activities are being followed by the Vegebe working group op food safety and sustainability.