VEGA Responds to a recent DEFRA Consultation
Re: Consultation on Reform of the EU Fruit and Vegetable Regime
We concur with the general intentions of the material provided in this consultation. However, we think more provision should be obvious for relevant crops for multiple purposes or for feedstuffs, oilseeds (yielding edible and industrial oils and fuels as well as fibre and meal for fodder) and crops yielding biomass (eg biofuels and valuable “waste”), such as rapeseed and hempseed, and root crops such as sugar beet, potatoes furnishing products applied directly or indirectly for food purposes (which would include use for beverages). Specialized crops, such as miscanthus (elephant grass) is being cultivated as a source of “green” fuel and power.
We assume therefore that the definitions would comprehend commercial dealings in crops (except grasses and clovers) grown as sources of materials for medical, veterinary, bedding and industrial purposes (eg herbs, marigolds, birdseed, linseed, poppies, and borages).
The regime should take account of differences in the taxation of fermented crops (eg beverages derived from root crops and grasses, such as beers, and spirits in which fruits play a part) and ciders, perries, and country wines, such as those derived from elderberries and root crops such as parsnips, and spirits such as sloe gin. We think at least one English farm is experimenting with teas derived for commercial exploitation from the leaves of Indian and Chinese plants, as well as from country herbs (eg mint, rosemary, and chamomile). Dandelions are also cultivated to make a coffee.