German companies have started to blackmail Polish apple producers, Poland's agriculture minister has said, according to a report in the Do Rzeczy weekly.
According to the weekly, dozens of small apple producers applied to have the government buy up their surplus produce for juicing after this year produced an over supply of fruit.
But the companies suddenly started backing out of the programme that aims to tackle shrinking apple prices as supply exceeds demand in Poland, the weekly cited Ardanowski as saying.
"As it happens, German companies, which dominate Poland's apple juice concentrate market and sell the concentrate worldwide, have started to blackmail Polish companies" saying that they would not buy apples in future from the Polish producers who sold off their surplus to the Polish government, Do Rzeczy reported.
The weekly quoted Ardanowski as saying that "this is especially sad for the reason that we have paid billions of złoty in European Union subsidies and now they don't see any obligation towards Polish farmers."
"What was the point of allocating all that money for new plants, processing lines, storage," Ardanowski added, Do Rzeczy reported.
He urged Polish apple producers, whom he called Poland's farming elites, to band together in opposition to blackmail from the West, the weekly said.
Ardanowski claimed that juice manufacturers could pay Polish farmers PLN 0.35 per kilogram of apples but that they do not, because the farmers can be pressured into accepting as little as PLN 0.1, the weekly said.