Tons of fruit rot as experts meet to mull Russian ban

Some 12,000 tons of peaches and nectarines on Wednesday remained 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.

With agricultural experts from the European Union’s 28 member states set to gather in Brussels on Thursday to estimate the broader impact of Moscow’s ban ahead of calculating the compensation that should go to the various affected countries, authorities in seven prefectures in northern and central Greece are scrambling to assess their losses.

According to the head of the main group of agricultural cooperatives in Imathia, Christos Giannakakis, most of the trucks that had been dispatched with fruit for Russia have 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.