Austrians asked to ‘eat more apples’

Austrians asked to 'eat more apples'
Austrian apples. File photo: APA/epa
Agriculture Minister Andrä Rupprechter (ÖVP) is calling on Austrians to eat more apples to combat the economic impact of the Russian import ban on food from the EU.

“If everyone ate one more apple a week, then we could prevent losses in the fruit and vegetable market,” he told ORF radio.

He urged Austrians to start eating more home grown products and said that hospitals, caterers, and restaurants should also buy regional produce.

In 2013 Austria exported agricultural goods worth about €238 million to Russia – this number is expected to halve due to the sanctions. 

EU farmers will get financial help of up to €125 million to help them cope with the impact of Russia's ban on most Western food imports.

According to Rupprechter the EU has an emergency reserve of about €400 million to compensate for market disruption in the agricultural sector. 

The Russian ban is costing Austrian farmers €4.5 million a week so far, Rupprechter said.

Other countries have also been calling for national solidarity to support farmers and food producers.

In Poland, a journalist started a twitter hashtag #eatapples (#jedzjabłka), as a way of protesting against Russia. A Facebook page called Eat Apples To Annoy Putin also became hugely popular. 

One of Poland's largest supermarket chains actively endorsed the hashtag on its Facebook and Twitter pages.

Rupprechter said the agricultural ministry now plans to focus exports on the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia.

Russia imposed the import ban as a countermeasure against the sanctions imposed by the EU against Moscow for its alleged support of Russian separatists in Ukraine's civil war.

According to calculations by The Local, given that an apple typically has 95 calories, one extra apple per week amounts to 13 calories – which would place the average Austrian's calorie consumption at 3,773 per day, giving Austria the dubious glory of eating the most calories per day in the world.

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