Tonnes of Icelandic strawberries thrown out since Costco opening

Strawberry farmers say the opening of Costco earlier in the year has been detrimental to the local industry, as they are unable to compete with the prices of imported berries. One farmer was quoted saying: “This has had a massive impact on us. Sales have diminished and we’ve had to lower our prices.” Another strawberry farmer claimed he had to throw away tonnes of produce this summer after Costco entered the market.

According to grapevine.is, this June, around 180 tonnes of strawberries had been imported to Iceland, compared to 53 tonnes during the same period last year. Icelandic farmers grow around some 50 tonnes annually. The impact on blackberry and raspberry prices been even greater.

“I hope Icelanders think before they buy imported berries, if only about the water,” strawberry farmer Hólmfríður Geirsdóttir said. “Berries are around 90 to 95% water. Domestically we only use clean Icelandic water, while abroad they sometimes use recycled water or even sewage.” Farmer Eiríkur Ágústsson, said that he has been forced to let people go and that during the summer months prices had gone down 20 to 25%.

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