The European Commission has allotted €125 million more to support food exporters that were hurt by the Russian embargo on European fruits and vegetables. Brussels announced that the funding would be available until the end of November for producers of tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, peppers, cauliflowers, apples, pears, red fruits, grapes, kiwis, and mushrooms. The official statement explains that the market for these fruits and vegetables is in its full swing which is why there is no storage option and no immediate market is available.
The move, that comes after the EU executive set as much as €30 million for peaches and nectarines, should help stop prices from falling to “crisis levels”. The experts on agriculture from EU Member States are to meet again in Brussels on Friday (22 August) to discuss whether other sectors need financial support from the EU fund worth €420 million that is being used to absorb the costs. Agriculture ministers will meet as well to analyse the situation in the markets. Under this system, producers might see up to five percent of output to be used as fertiliser or to be rationed to schools and hospitals in return for the compensation from the EU.
Moscow imposed the embargo on EU fruits and vegetables on 6 August following its initial ban on Polish apples. Although imports from the EU are generally forbidden, individual Russian nationals can bring back EU-made food back to Russia. Food that is made in Belarus and Kazakhstan using ingredients supplied by the EU can be also exported to the country. The information that the EU Commission will help the food sector coincided with the release of the latest data demonstrating that EU exports to Russia were showing a falling pattern, with sales down 12 percent in the first five months of the last year.