More than 70,000 businesses in Belgium give their employees chèques-repas and more than 80,000 hand out éco-chèques.
In total, employees were given 2.6 billion euros as chèques-repas and 256 million euros as éco-chèques last year.
The Walloon Agricultural Federation (Fwa) is working with the organisations that hand out chèques-repas and éco-chèques (Sodexo, Edenred, Monizze) to make them easier to use.
The Fwa say they want people to be able to use these cheques when buying directly from farms.
In theory, you can already use éco-chèques to buy bio-products directly from farms and you can use chèques-repas to pay for any food product.
The reality is that farms that sell directly generally don’t have the necessary electronic payment terminals, apart from a few exceptions.
“The Fwa is working to remove these logistical obstacles,” said Caroline Decoster from the Walloon Agricultural Union’s study service. “We are launching a recruitment campaign for farms interested in getting one.”
The Fwa wants to negotiate favourable conditions for those who want to join up and for farms to have the terminals by the end of the year.
It is apparently worth getting one. “Installing a terminal usually leads to a 30 to 50% increase in turnover,” says Mrs Decoster.
The Fwa is convinced that “buying directly from farms is the kind of thing the éco-chèque was designed for.”
The Fwa and Agrofront, which includes the Flemish agricultural organisations Boerenbond and ABS, wants to extend the use of éco-chèques to all products bought directly from farms (not just bio-products) – ideally from 2020 and now appeal to politicians to make this happen.
The Brussels Times