Strawberry farmers say the opening of Costco earlier in the year has been detrimental to the profession as they are unable to compete with prices of imported berries, reports visir.is.
“This has had a massive impact on us,” strawberry farmer Hólmfríður Geirsdóttir said. “Sales have diminished and we’ve had to lower prices to be able to get our produce out.”
According to Vísir, one strawberry farmer said he had to throw away tonnes of produce this summer after Costco entered the market.
This June, around 180 tonnes of strawberries had been imported to Iceland, compared to 53 tonnes during the same period last year. Icelandic farmers grow around 50 tonnes annually.
Hólmríður also produces blackberries and raspberry and says that on those the price impact has been even more.
“I hope Icelanders think before they buy imported berries–if only about the water,” said Hólmfríður. “Berries are around 90 to 95% water and domestically we use clean Icelandic water, while some places abroad they use recycled water or even sewage.”
Another farmer, Eiríkur Ágústsson, said that he has been forced to let people go and that during the summer months prices had gone down 20 to 25%. “You worry and you don’t know what will happen,” he said.