Poland’s agriculture minister, Jan Krzysztof Ardanowski, has warned that German companies are blackmailing Polish apple producers.

According to a report in the Do Rzeczy weekly, dozens of small apple producers applied to have the government buy up their surplus produce for juicing after this year produced an oversupply of fruit.

The companies have 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.

As reported by Radio Poland online, 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.