Estonia fruit production plummets

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Martyn Fisher

BY MARTYN FISHER

Estonia fruit production plummets

Fruit production stood at over 28,000 tonnes in 2002 but the country's output was just 5,200 tonnes last year

Estonia fruit production plummets
Worrying fruit figures in Estonia

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Estonia's Ministry of Agriculture has said that the Eastern European nation only managed to satisfy 10 per cent of its fruit and 66 per cent of its vegetable needs in 2012.

Illar Lemetti, an under secretary at the ministry, said it is hoped that there will be an increase in production during the next seven years.

According to stat.ee, fruit production stood at over 28,000 tonnes in 2002, whereas last year, the output was 5,200 tonnes. 

According to 2012 statistics, 59,000 tonnes of fruit, including berries, were consumed last year.

Farmers have complained that cheap foreign produce has pushed them out of the market, with one tomato producer forced to give away a large part of its inventory for free in late August.

On a different level, every fall brings apples free-for-the-taking on roadsides around Estonia, yet even in season, domestic apples are still often more expensive than foreign produce in cities.

A commission formed to draw up a horticulture development plan convened on Tuesday, and said that investments into storage capability need to be made, while modern technology could boost efficiency.

Cooperation between growers and those who process the fruit and vegetables should be improved, the commission also noted, and smaller farms need to work together.

Besides the ministry, a number of other state agencies, universities and private companies are also involved in the commission's work.

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