Balkan vegetable suppliers export tomatoes, peppers to Romania under false pretenses, farmer claims

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Turkish and Macedonian vegetable suppliers are shipping tomatoes and peppers to Romania and falsely labeling them as Romanian products for marketing purposes, a farmer has claimed.

Mihai Chesnoiu, who grows vegetables in the southern county Olt, said he recently found tomatoes from Turkey labelled as Romanian in the Profi supermarket chain.

The practice is damaging Romanian farmers’ business, as foreign suppliers have lower prices, which supermarket chains prefer.

Consumers often prefer seasonal Romanian fruit and vegetables which explains why foreign suppliers are prepared to falsify the origin of the produce.

The farmer whose claims about Turkish tomatoes posing as homegrown produce caused outrage on social media. .

Angered about the practice, Mihai Chesnoiu decided to lay a trap, Adevarul reported. He said he found he could import vegetables from other countries which producers would misrepresent as Romanian produce.

On July 19, he pretended to be representing a company called Bioland and approached a company in North Macedonia which he found on the internet.

„If I had continued the discussions,  the goods truck would have already delivered (the produce) to my yard”, he said.

He said the Macedonian company wanted to sell him vegetables and had no issue labeling the produce Romanian.

He said the discussion took place on the WhatsApp. The Macedonian supplier sent him pictures of melons and peppers.

The price of a truckload of peppers delivered to Romania was set at 16,900 euros, he said, cheaper than what it would cost in Romania.

Mihai Chesnoiu has been growing vegetables for the past 16 years on a 5-hectare plot of land in the village of Grădinari.

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