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Gerard van den Anker (NFO):

"The fact that Russians want our pears on their shelves says more about our pears"

Last weekend there were reports in the Dutch media that despite the boycott, around 70,000 tonnes of Dutch and Belgian pears make their way to the Russian market. A trick is used to get the pears into Russia, which involves African countries. These countries provide certificates of origin and safety for the pears for a charge. The Liberian pears in a Russian supermarket, for example, are actually from the Netherlands or Belgium.

"This shows that the Dutch pear is so good that the Russians want to keep it on the shelves despite the boycott," says Gerard van den Abker, president of the Dutch Fruit Growers Organisation (NFO). "This also shows how sad the boycott is. Dutch growers are suffering losses whilst others make a profit. Why is it like this when it could be so much easier?"

The report certainly surprised Gerard. "Its bizarre that African countries are making money from our pears by offering export certificates. However the reports that the Dutch Fruit growers are making millions from this are tendentious. Growers don't export themselves but are working tirelessly every day to grow.a great product. The export is in the hands of others, namely the exporters and sales organisations. The cultivation sector is under pressure and we will have to fight to make sure the growers get a larger share of the final consumer price."

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