How to cultivate the perfect tomato? How to define the specifications required for a vegetable producers’ organisation? How to ensure that producers actually follow them? What do they need to pay attention to in terms of quality standards of a product? These are only a few of the many questions the vegetable growers of the cooperative ECOVEGETALES in Sebaco, Nicaragua, want to ask their Belgian counterparts who will visit them at the beginning of March. Henk Vandevelde of Tomabel, Johan Pattyn of the REO auction, and Peter Bleyaert of INAGRO are the Flemish producers that will participate in a practical exchange with the farmers of ECOVEGETALES. Jan Dessein from the Province of West Flanders, which made this exchange possible, has accompanied them, as was Roos Peirsegaele from Vredeseilanden. This trip to Nicaragua was the result of a learning process that was started in 2014.
The Province of West Flanders wishes to do more than merely investing.
The learning process was elaborated together with the Province of West Flanders over a period of 2 years: the Province wants to be a more active partner in the pilot projects of the development cooperation that are more visible in the province. It also wants to broaden the support base of some projects in West Flanders and be more involved. Together with the partners from West Flanders - which is a vegetable growers’ area per excellence - like Tomabel and the REO auction, they share knowledge about vegetable growing. Also the Knowledge Centre of INAGRO and the Training Centre PCLT are part of the learning process. As for Milcobel (dairy sector), its experience in cooperativism is very valuable. Apart from the exchange between farmers, it is foreseen that the results and the knowledge received from the project are shared with other players in the province of West Flanders.