French retailer Carrefour has founded an agricultural co-operative in a Romanian village to bring local fresh produce to its shelves.
The co-op includes 80 families of producers who own 60 hectares (148 acres) of agricultural land. The second biggest retailer in Romania, Carrefour will source 5,000 tones of fruit and veg from the local co-op in the village of Vărăşti.
“The project initiated by Carrefour brings closer experienced farmers and consumers who appreciate Romanian quality products,” the retailer says.
Through the co-op, farmers are able to scale up production and have a single collection centre. The partnership with Carrefour guarantees them a production plan and price, and means they will receive fast payments for their products.
“Our work has been simplified,” said one of the producers in a video promoting the new venture.
The initiative comes after the Romanian parliament passed a law that requires large retailers with a turnover of €2m to allocate a minimum of 51% of existing space for fresh produce to products sourced locally, from a short supply chain.
The law initially stated that products should come from Romania but was amended after warning from Brussels of potential breach of EU regulation. Under the amended text, Bulgarian and Hungarian products would also qualify as part of a short supply chain. The law came into effect in March.
The co-op will officially launch in April. Currently, only 1% of agricultural production is organised in co-operatives. According to Euromonitor, food accounts for the biggest share of household expenditure in Romania (40%).