The EU’s decision to pay out just 210 million euros in compensation to those who have lost out financially to the deadly E. coli epidemic has not pleased many of them.
Farmers around Europe still have the costs of harvesting, but few customers for their produce.
German producer Andrej Becker said: “There is no button that you can push that turns off the growing process. You can’t say: ‘Stop, we’ve got sales problems, we’ll come back in two weeks’. It doesn’t work like that. Tomatoes don’t wait. If you don’t harvest them, they rot.”
With warnings lifted, people have started buying again but the growers say it will take time to restore the trade and they have been badly damaged financially.
German MP Johannes Singhammer who speaks on agriculture and consumer protection matters for his party, said compensation is essential: “We want to maintain the tomato and cucumber production in the future in Germany, and that is why they need to be compensated.”
But struggling farmers all over Europe are complaining the compensation is not enough.
Spanish growers – who were worst hit – want the Madrid government to take the issue to the European Court of Justice.