Austrian Minister of Agriculture Andrae Rupprechter has Tuesday appealed to the public to consume more home-grown fruit and vegetables to counter the impact of Russian sanctions.
“If everyone ate one apple per week more, then we could make up the market loss in the fruit and vegetable sector,” he said in an interview with the Oe1 Morgenjournal radio program from broadcaster ORF.
He also called for hospitals, the food service industry, and canteen kitchens to give preference to local food products in the name of “national solidarity,” echoing similar campaigns found in other nations such as Poland and Latvia.
Austrian agricultural groups estimate Russia has either returned or cancelled orders on a total of 500 tonnes of Austrian-grown apples so far. On top of this the Austrian apple harvest is expected to be one-fifth larger this year with a drop in price already noticeable, despite the main harvest yet to occur.
Rupprechter had last week revealed that losses incurred by the Austrian agri-food industry as a result of the sanctions had reached 6 million U.S. dollars.
On Monday the European Commission revealed an aid package for farmers totalling 166 million dollars, the Minister calling for the 530 million dollars in crisis reserve to also be made available.
Additionally his ministry plans to start an information campaign, as well as to develop new export strategies to target Middle Eastern, North African, and Asian markets.