The EU actively supports the fruit and vegetable sector though its market-management scheme (element of the "common organisation of agricultural markets"), which has 4 broad goals:
- a more competitive and market-oriented sector
- fewer crisis-related fluctuations in producers' income
- greater consumption of fruit and vegetables in the EU
- increased use of eco-friendly cultivation and production techniques.
Growers are encouraged to join producer organisations (POs). These receive support for implementing operational programmes, based on a national strategy.
In certain EU regions, for a transitional period, producer groups (PGs) formed on the initiative of growers can get financial aid to help them attain recognition as producer organisations.
Recognition of interbranch organisations (IBO) is favoured where they proof to be sufficiently representative of the various occupational categories of the fruit and vegetables sector and they carry out practical actions contributing to the goals of the scheme.
The scheme promotes product quality by applying marketing standards to certain products and supporting operational programme measures that improve or maintain product quality.
Income fluctuation from crises
Support is offered for crisis prevention/management measures under operational programmes, i.e.:
- product withdrawal
- green harvesting/non-harvesting
- promotion/communication tools
- harvest insurance
- help to secure bank loans and cover administrative costs of setting up mutual funds (farmer-owned stabilisation funds).
A school fruit scheme has been created to promote fruit and vegetable consumption by children.
Support is also given to free distribution of fruit and vegetables to schools, hospitals and charities.
Other activities promoting consumption under PO's operational programmes can also receive support.
Eco-friendly cultivation and production
At least 10 percent of spending in the operational programmes must be on environmental actions that go beyond mandatory environmental standards. Alternatively, programmes must include at least 2 such actions.
When receiving direct payments or agri-environmental payments under EU rural development programmes, growers are subject to penalties (cross-compliance) if they fail to meet mandatory environmental standards.