Greek Peach Farmers Wait On EU

ATHENS – After repeated promises of aid to make up for losses from a Russian embargo on western foods, Greece’s peach and nectarine producers still don’t have an answer.

The farmers were promised again that the European Union would have a decision on Aug. 22 after the Greek government said it would offer compensation but didn’t. Neither did the EU which didn’t reach a decision on what to do, common for the bloc’s leaders on issues of any magnitude in which they prefer to wait.

EU agricultural officials in Brussels met to try to determine the size of the compensation they, and farmers in other EU member states, will receive for losses suffered over the embargo Moscow imposed in retaliation for western sanctions over its involvement in Ukraine.

Kathimerini said that the compensation is likely to amount to 20 or 30 million euros for peaches and nectarines, far less than the hit the farmers will take.

The EU has already earmarked 125 million euros in compensation for producers of other fruit and vegetables ranging from tomatoes, carrots and peppers to apples, pears and grapes but didn’t explain why they didn’t include peaches – Russia makes up half the Greek export market for the fruit – or nectarines.

The compensation is to be awarded only when producers have withdrawn surplus produce from the market to stop prices dropping.

The distribution of surplus peaches has already begun with the bulk going to Greek army barracks, schools, churches and charities.

Greek peach farmers say they are being offered extremely low prices for their produce as thousands of tons sit in refrigerators, or remain uncollected in orchards, following a flurry of canceled orders by Russian firms.