Furious farmers defy Russia with free fruit

Furious farmers defy Russia with free fruit
Russia retaliated to having santions imposed on them by banning the import of some foodstuffs from the EU for a year. Photo: Gabinete de Prensa de UPA/Flickr
Agricultural workers gave 10 tonnes (10,000kg) of free fruit and vegetables to residents of the Spanish capital on Friday morning in protest against the Russian embargo on European farm imports.

Unions and co-operatives in the sector organized the give-away under the slogan "Save the Spanish agricultural sector from the serious consequences of the Russian embargo".

Groups including Asaja, COAG and UPA demanded compensation from EU Agriculture Ministers who are currently meeting in Brussels.Madrid residents were invited to help themselves to items including peaches, pears, apples and potatoes.

According to the Spanish edition of the Huffington Post, the event also included a social media photocall. Recipients of the free fruit were encouraged to post selfies of themselves with the hashtags #BesaLaFruta (kiss the fruit) and to declare themselves against the #VetoRuso (Russian embargo).

Spanish fruit exports to Russia usually total €340 million ($441 million) a year and loss of access to the market has had "very serious" effects on the sector according to unions.

Producers across Europe, who exported €9 billion of food to Russia last year, have been left with a glut of certain foodstuffs as a result of the embargo.

Russia's year-long embargo on fruit, vegetables, meat, fish and dairy imports from the European Union was announced in early August. It was imposed as a retaliation for sanctions imposed on Russia  because of its support for rebels in Ukraine.

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