Economic costs of the E-coli outbreak reaches 2.5 million euros in Catalonia
The Catalan Minister for Agriculture believes that the EU offer of compensation to farmers does not include enough products to meet the general losses in the sector provoked by the cucumber crisis.
Barcelona (ACN).-Catalan farmers lost 2.5 million euros as a consequence of the E-coli outbreak. The figure was announced on Friday by the Catalan Minister for Agriculture, Josep Maria Pelegrí, who nonetheless said that it is \u201Cvery difficult\u201D to assess the exact economic impact of the crisis in the overall agricultural sector. Pelegrí argued that the EU has \u201Cclearly not included enough\u201D products in its lists for compensation due to the outbreak.
During a speech in Barcelona, Pelegrí criticised the management of the crisis by the EU. He said Brussels did not guarantee food safety during the outbreak and created alarm by trying to \u201Csecretly close borders\u201D to countries that were not responsible for the crisis. According to Pelegrí, the main challenge for Catalonia is to regain the trust of consumers. Farmers suffered great losses during the crisis because people stopped buying cucumbers and other produce. Pelegrí regretted that the EU and Germany created \u201Calarm without any scientific basis\u201D that \u201Chad severe consequences on the vegetable and fruit sectors in Catalonia and Spain\u201D. Pelegrí said that it was a priority to invest an EU payment of 15 million euros in new advertisement campaigns to restore the honour and credibility of Catalan cucumbers and help farmers regain the confidence of consumers.