Belgian apple and pear farmers have been forced to destroy part of their harvest by the Russian embargo on European Union (EU) farm products, the Flemish farmers’ union, Boerebond, said on Friday. The EU has authorized Belgium to destroy 27,000 tonnes of apples and pears, 4% of the country’s production, and according to the Boerenbond, about half of this amount has already been destroyed.
The measure enters into effect whenever the prices per kilogramme drop below 10 cents for apples and 12 cents for pears. The farmers receive compensation for each fruit destroyed, but the amount is way below cost price, according to the Boerenbond.
“This year has not at all been good,” the spokesperson of the union said. ”The quantity of apples we have is 18% lower and for pears it’s 10 percent lower, but because we’ve lost a serious export market (Russia, editor’s note) we are obliged to take such measures so as to stabilise prices.”
Fruit prices are highly sensitive to supply and demand fluctuations. A one-percent surplus can depress prices by 10%, while the opposite is also true.
Belgium is not the only country forced to destroy part of its fruit harvest. Poland and Italy have also had to do likewise.