Karel Paesmans grows fruit in Belgian Limburg. On Sunday he gave 50.000kg of pears away. In doing so, the grower wants to make it clear that the sector has no future under these circumstances.
"The Russian boycott and European planting subsidies given to Eastern European growers have ensured that the European market is flooded with top fruit. The Belgian fruit sector is in dire straits. If something is not done about it, the sector will not survive," says Paesmans.
People enjoyed getting fruit for free. However, they feel very sorry for the farmers. "Thanks to a few political decisions, the growers now find themselves in such big trouble," the visitors say. "After the handouts, organizations also arrived. They are going to give the fruit to the less fortunate. I like seeing that the fruit will still go to a good place," says Karel. About half of the pears were collected. The rest will be fed to the cows.
The grower is unsure of how to move forward. "If something does not change, and quickly, the European top fruit sector will quickly start seriously shrinking. Is that what Europe wants? Planting and harvesting subsidies at the same time, then?"
"Besides cultivating fruit, we supply fruit to companies. We print logos on fruit too. We are a modern company that invests in the future. However, we, unfortunately, have no influence on the top fruit sales situation," concludes Karel.