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Erik Gipmans, Fossa Eugenia:

"Hail damage has huge impact on small businesses like ours"

The hailstorm of 23rd of June has left its mark on producers from Noord-Brabant and Limburg. "The exact amount of damage is difficult to determine, but for a relatively small business the damage has a huge impact," says Erik Gipmans of Fossa Eugenia. "One greenhouse of almost 3 hectares of tomatoes has been severely damaged, but the outdoor production has been damaged severely as well."

"The spinach, fennel, lettuce, and a large part of the leeks have been damaged. This causes many supply problems. There is a reason why our spinach is not available in retail, which will continue for at least a week. We have been trying to limit the damage as much as possible and to find alternative outlets," says Erik. "The customers understand the situation, but no one wants to have products of lesser quality. So we try to source some products from other places, but it is not that simple because we have agreed not to buy extra products."

"For some products we tried to come up with a solution immediately. Normally we supply leeks with a lot of green, now we supply shortened leeks, or only the shaft. Not every product has an alternative however. Many of the spinach fields, for example, had to be tilled and sowed as soon as possible. In some areas, however, there was some heavy rainfall and this was not yet possible. Fortunately, we had some drier days and the soil dries quickly, but last week there were many areas that were too wet," says Erik. 

"The situation was almost inconceivable. Hailstones the size of a billiard ball went right through the greenhouse and the crops. We try to support our producers and to give attention to the emotional side as well as the financial and material side of the story," says Erik. He is not optimistic about the support of the government. "If you look at the way the government has stood aside, one cannot expect much generosity!"