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EU offers €165 million in aid to farmers hit by Russian food ban

September 30, 2014, 11:59 UTC+3 BRUSSELS
The new program provides emergency measures for perishable fruit and vegetables in an effort to withdraw surplus volumes from the market
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© EPA/JENS BUETTNER

BRUSSELS, September 30. /ITAR-TASS/. The European Commission has announced a further package of €165 million ($209.4 million) in support for farmers hurt by Russia’s food ban, the official statement said on Tuesday.

"I am pleased that the Commission has managed to mobilize further €165 million to help ease the market pressure for fruit and vegetable growers following the Russian ban,” EU agricultural commissioner Dacian Ciolos said, adding that the measures will provide “short-term relief”.

The new program provides emergency measures for perishable fruit and vegetables in an effort to withdraw surplus volumes from the market. The plan includes oranges, tangerines and clementines for the first time.

The package comes in addition to the program worth €125 million for fruit and vegetables that was announced in mid-August, but was suspended on September 10 “because provisional applications showed that the full budget allocation had already been claimed.”

To be better targeted, the plan includes an annex outlining eligible volumes in member states with specific figures per product group. The volumes are based on export volumes for this period in the past three years with amounts deducted to take account of volumes already claimed under the first 125 million euro scheme.

The new plan, which will run until the end of the year, also includes such products as apples and pears, carrots, cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, kiwi, plums and table grapes. The total volume of products is estimated at more than 400,000 tons.

The European Commission has responded with specific market support measures for peaches and nectarines (€33 million), perishable fruit and vegetables, private storage aid for butter, skimmed milk powder and cheese (€125 million), and an additional €30 million for promotion programs.

The measures came after Russia announced a ban on imports of certain agricultural products from the EU (and the US, Canada, Australia, and Norway) in early August, in retaliation to Western sanctions.

The 28-nation bloc could lose up to €12 billion because of Russia’s ban, the EU ambassador to Russia Vygaudas Usackas said last month.

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