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EU Fruit Network

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - EUFRUIT (EU Fruit Network)

Reporting period: 2017-09-01 to 2019-02-28

EUFRUIT focused on increasing the connectivity and efficiency between research outcomes and implementation of knowledge and outcomes by relevant stakeholders. The key stakeholders who gained value from the network are knowledge end-users; namely fruit producers, consultants within the horticultural sector, fruit storage facilities, distributors, retailers and consumers of fruit. In addition, researchers in the fruit disciplines would find the exchange of knowledge valuable for future research initiatives. The EUFRUIT network focused on four key areas:

i) Performance of new fruit varieties
ii) Reduction in pesticide residues
iii) Fruit quality; improvement of fruit handling/storage
iv) Securing sustainable fruit production

The EUFRUIT network contributed to an increased innovative capacity and competitiveness across the fruit sector. At the same time, it has provided new knowledge that will contribute to addressing the current challenges within food security, food safety, sustainable and profitable production of fruit species, health and wellbeing of society, and healthy diets of consumers.

The knowledge generated and exchanged by the EUFRUIT network was focused on increasing the competitiveness of the European fruit sector through improved productivity, sustainability and quality of fruit across the fruit chain. EUFRUIT achieved this through taking an inclusive approach that involved research and industrial stakeholders in order to overcome barriers for the implementation of knowledge and technologies within the fruit sector.
The 21 EUFRUIT partners from 12 European countries developed a framework for identifying and exchanging knowledge through the EUFRUIT project and its Knowledge Platform, which has ensured a rapidly dissemination of the latest findings across the EU.

Within each of the above-mentioned four key focus areas, EUFRUIT established an ‘International Expert Group’ (IEG) comprised of fruit research experts, small medium enterprises (SMEs) and representatives from existing national fruit-oriented networks and clusters. These four IEGs met annually to review and report on the latest state-of-the-art knowledge, existing practices and novel technologies, they then synthesized the material to identify key areas of learning, new knowledge and best practice approaches at a European level.

Fruit growers were involved in the EUFRUIT project via national/regional network groups (NGs). These NGs covered the geographical area of the 12 European consortium partners, thereby representing the diverse climatic, geographical and socio-economic conditions in Europe. In total 62 NGs were established. in addition to farmers these NGs include a wide range of stakeholders; consultants, cooperatives, representatives of media, interest groups, consultants, local and regional authorities, crop protection and irrigations companies, distributors, supply chain representatives, researchers at universities and research institutes, teachers, industry relevant SMEs, fruit storage facilities, producer organizations, fruit exporter associations, wholesalers, levy bodies, marketing organizations, and representatives from nurseries. This has ensured the significant transfer of project results and particularly best-practice advice, for exploitation by the European fruit sector. The EUFRUIT network was also active in communication with policy makers and the wider public.

All relevant information material of the EUFRUIT project is available on an open access Knowledge Platform http://kp.eufrin.eu. Here the EUFRUIT partners have published industry and scientific articles, presentations flyers etc., mostly in their native language but with a summary in English. Approx. 1,000 items have been uploaded on the Knowledge Platform to be viewed, read, or downloaded. This ensures that existing knowledge is brought from the national/regional levels to become available at a European level (and vice versa) for all stakeholders in the fruit chain to access and implement. The Knowledge Platform will continue after the end of the EUFRUIT project via EUFRIN (European Fruit Research Institutes Network; http://eufrin.eu) a network that consists of international research representatives working in fruit.
EUFRUIT did not aim to create new knowledge or technologies but rather it focussed on gathering and analysing the latest state-of-the-art knowledge. The EUFRUIT network actively scanned for the regional and national best practise and then synthesized the information to generate summaries of the current best practices across the European fruit sector. All knowledge was shared and showed via the Knowledge Platform. The Knowledge Platform ensures that the latest research results and established best practise for implementation at grower level are openly accessible.

As a socio-economic impact, EUFRUIT has delivered knowledge that will add value to fruit producers and actors across the fruit chain in relation to increased sustainability, better choice of cultivars (productivity/ha), better practises (to increase productivity and reduce waste), reduced costs, food waste, reduced spray use and costs and reduced overall footprint. EUFRUIT has also delivered knowledge that will underpin increased satisfaction by consumers and increased health and wellbeing for consumers, via e.g. safer food, increased satisfaction due to improved storage quality, less variability in the product, and reduced residues.

EUFRUIT outcomes are aligned with and underpin the United Nations Sustainable Developments Goals (SDGs) where the most impact will be on: Goal 3 ‘Health’; Goal 12 ‘Responsible Consumption and Production’; Goal 13 ‘Climate action’ and Goal 15 ‘Life on Land’.
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