The fruit and vegetables sector faces a number of sustainability issues along the supply chains. The issues at farm level include access to finance for inputs, limited knowledge on good social and environmental practices, low yield, poor quality, food safety, limited exposure to commercial farming and lack of knowledge of international market requirements.
The global demand for fruit and vegetables has increased in recent years due to healthier lifestyles in the west and a growing middle class in developing countries. In order to meet this increased demand, the entire fruit and vegetable sector needs to adopt more sustainable production methods.
Consumer awareness about how their purchases affect social conditions of millions of factory and farm workers around the world have also increased the interest in knowing where products comes from and under what condition they are produced.
To tackle these issues, in 2012 IDH, together with 13 Dutch retailers and traders, launched the Sustainability Initiative Fruit and Vegetables (SIFAV). Today SIFAV has become a pan-European initiative with over 40 partners, including retailers, brands, traders and civil society organizations from Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK.