Regional authorities in seven Greek prefectures on Tuesday began assessing the impact of a Russian food embargo, chiefly on the export of Greek peaches, ahead of Thursday’s scheduled meeting of European agricultural experts in Brussels, where a broader analysis of the problem is to be carried out.
Authorities in Imathia, Pella, Kozani, Larissa, Florina, Pieria and Thessaloniki yesterday started recording the value of the planned exports of peaches and other products that have been canceled by Russian firms. They have been asked to submit their assessments by Wednesday to the Agricultural Development Ministry, whose officials have been working closely with those at the Development and Finance ministries to draft a strategy for minimizing the impact of the Russian ban on Greek producers.
Agricultural Development Minister Giorgos Karasmanis said he had discussed the problem with the European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Dacian Ciolos. He added that Greece – together with Spain, Italy and France, which also export peaches – had sent a joint memo to the EC, proposing a common approach to dealing with the fallout of the ban.
A statement by the Agricultural Development Ministry noted that a “first round of talks on the expert level” in Brussels would lead to the calculation of damages for each of the affected EU member states.
Speaking to Skai TV on Tuesday, Deputy Foreign Minister Dimitris Kourkoulas would not say what amount in damages Greece is planning to request from the EC. However he suggested that in the event the amount pledged to Greece is deemed inadequate, Athens would ask Brussels for additional aid.
Estimates of the losses likely to be sustained by producers this year range from 50 million to 200 million euros.
Peach producers from the northern region of Macedonia on Tuesday compiled a joint petition with representatives of road haulage firms, packaging companies and other
affected parties, appealing to Brussels for immediate action to avert an “economic disaster” that they said the Russian embargo would bring. According to the petition, the Russian ban “is provoking incalculable damage to the peach industry in the middle of the harvest, the most profitable season.”