As Greek government officials have gotten nowhere with Moscow to get an exemption from a food embargo on the West, thousands of tons of fruit have rotted away and losses are mounting.
Some 12,000 tons of peaches and nectarines are in refrigerators in Imathia – one of seven prefectures affected by the Russian food embargo – with another 13,000 tons of fruit remaining unpicked due to a flood of canceled deliveries.a
Agricultural experts from the European Union’s 28 member states gathered in Brussles to estimate the impact of the ban and calculate potential compensation to farmers who were hit at the height of their summer season. Greek authorities are trying to assess their losses, which could be anywhere from 50-200 million euros.
The head of the main group of agricultural cooperatives in Imathia, Christos Giannakakis, told Kathimerini that most of the trucks that had been dispatched with fruit for Russia returned to the capital Veria following the cancellation of deliveries. But, he said, some of the truck drivers are trying to sell the fruit on their way back.
Earlier this week peach producers from the northern region of Macedonia compiled a joint petition with representatives of road haulage firms and packaging companies appealing to Brussels for immediate action to avert an “economic disaster.”
Meanwhile Greece sent a joint memo with Spain, Italy and France – which also export peaches – to Brussels, proposing a common approach to tackling the fallout of the ban.