Saturday 19 October 2019

Fruit growers demand end to sanctions against Russia

Dutch fruit growers continue to suffer the consequences of the Russian boycott of agricultural products in the wake of the economic sanctions imposed on the country five years ago, broadcaster NOS reports.

The boycott was extended to 2020 by president Vladimir Putin in June. Fruit growers are now demanding Europe and the US revise the sanctions which were put in place following Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its support for East Ukrainian separatists.

‘In 2014 20% of our pears were destined for Russia,’ spokesman Gerard van den Anker of fruit growers’ association NFO told the broadcaster. ‘Our loss over five years is hard to calculate but the fruit has to go somewhere. The prices will tell you that is it becoming very difficult for growers to survive.’

Van den Anker thinks his call will be successful because it will make politicians think about the future of food provision.

‘Do you want to depend on other countries for food or do you want to support your own growers? Russia is now investing in its own food provision so it is less vulnerable,’ Van den Anker said.

Growers are also demanding European subsidies for Eastern European fruit growers is stopped because, they say, it leads to false competition. ‘These countries are already producing more cheaply and have fewer rules than we do. We want a level playing field.’

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