Hungary may seek compensation for vegetable growers, ag minister says

Budapest, June 3 (MTI) – Hungary, as other members of the European Union, is considering seeking compensation for Hungarian vegetable growers who are unable to sell their produce as a result of the outbreak of disease stemming from the new strain of E. coli bacteria that surfaced in northern Germany in late May, Minister of Rural Development Sandor Fazekas said on Friday.  

Hungarian-grown vegetables and fruits can be eaten without worrying about possible infection and no E. coli-tainted vegetables have been imported to Hungary, the minister of rural development said during a visit to Budapest’s main market hall on Friday morning.


Fazekas, who purchased and consumed a cucumber during his visit to the market hall, estimated that the deadly E. coli outbreak could prevent Hungarian growers from selling several thousand tons of produce.


Fazekas added that at this time of the year domestic vegetable production satisfies almost all of the demand in the country.


Bela Matonffy, president of the vegetable- and fruit-growers’ interest group FruitVeB, told MTI on Thursday evening that Russia’s ban on the import of fresh vegetables from the European Union will affect Hungary, as 10-15 percent of the country’s fruit and vegetable exports go to Russia.


Hungary exports about 100,000-150,000 tonnes of vegetable to Russia, the deliveries are worth between 20 billion forints and 25 billion forints, he said.


The exports grew 26 percent last year and they had planned a further rise this year, Martonffy said.