The economic damage from the Russian boycott of Dutch food products could reach €1.5bn, Dutch employers’ organisation VNO-NCW chief Hans de Boer said on Tuesday.
Last Thursday Russia announced a ban on the import of fruit, vegetables, meat, fish and dairy products from countries which support the sanctions imposed on the country by the EU and US.
Earlier calculations of the damage were €500m but De Boer said this is too optimistic. ‘That calculation did not take into account the Dutch dealers who operate from eastern Europe,’ he told broadcaster Nos.
On Monday, the organisation told junior economic affairs minister Sharon Dijksma it would like to see political involvement in the market.
Farmers and growers should be encouraged to grow less to avoid over-capacity and, as a consequence, falling prices, De Boer said.
In return, they should be offered compensation.
The market gardeners’ association LTO, which was at the meeting with Dijksma, agrees. ‘With a small amount of European money we can ensure that produce taken out of the market is sent to places where it is needed.’
The European Commission is looking into taking produce out of the market to avoid fruit and vegetable mountains and keep prices stable.
Last Friday, Dutch media reported that the boycott was already having an effect, with 300 lorries carrying fresh produce stuck at the Russian border and prices falling fast at trade auctions in the Netherlands.
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