As the European Commission tries to assess the relative damage wreaked by a Russian food embargo on peach and nectarine producers in Greece as well as on competitors Spain, Italy and Portugal, farmers in northern and central Greece are at a loss about what to do with thousands of tons of produce.
In the northern regional unit of Imathia alone, more than 50,000 tons of peaches were returned to Greece last week after Russian companies canceled their orders and are sitting in refrigerators. Thousands more tons remain in orchards, uncollected, as demand has plummeted following the ban from Russia, which usually accounts for 50 percent of Greek producers’ exports.
Greek farmers are hoping for an update this week from Brussels, where officials decided on Thursday that measures would be taken to support producers of fruit and vegetables in the EU member states that depend on exports to Russia and have suffered serious losses due to the food embargo. Commenting on the decision at an EU summit in Brussels on Friday, Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Evangelos Venizelos stressed the importance of European officials reaching a decision that will allow “the smooth operation of international trade to resume.”
Fur traders in northern Greece as well as road haulage firms and packaging companies have also appealed to Brussels for immediate action to avert an “economic disaster.”