Belgian growers start petition for better prices:

"Growers pay the price for the political crisis"

A Belgian tomato grower receives 17 cents per kilo for his tomatoes, while the cost to produce them is 60 cents per kilo. For potato producers it’s the same: they gets ten cents, while the cost is 14 cents. "If you drink a glass of milk, you actually drink 2 cents out of the producer’s pockets." With these examples, the Belgian Growers’ Association fights for fair food prices. Their petition has so far been signed by 12,229 people.

"It is quite clear that the Russian embargo has disrupted the markets," says Peter Vanthemsche, president of the Belgian Growers’ Association. "We can see that the markets for pork and dairy are thoroughly upset." The Russians introduced severe restrictions on the import of various European products as a response to EU sanctions prompted by the crisis in Ukraine. Growers now pay the price for the political crisis, the Association states.

In the vegetable sector, the story is similar. Farmer and chicory grower Sam Magnus explains: "Last year there was an enormous yield and the price dropped all together. We received only € 0.02 or € 0.03 per kilogram while produce is sold in stores for as much as 0.50 or 1 euro."

To promote the campaign, a pink tractor named Roza has been traversing Flanders since last Sunday, visiting farmers' markets on the way. On September 7 she ends her tour in Brussels, the location of an additional European Agriculture Council made in response to the ongoing crisis in the various agricultural and horticultural sectors.

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