Farming News - EU suspends support for farmers affected by Russian embargo

EU suspends support for farmers affected by Russian embargo

11 Sep 2014


The EU Commission has suspended funding for aid measures to fresh fruit and vegetable producers after receiving a high number of potentially bogus claims, which in some cases have been several times greater than annual exports to Russia.


 The EU Commission has suspended aid funding for farmers hit by the Russian trade embargo after receiving dubious claimsThe EU Commission has suspended multi-million pound support measures for farmers affected by the Russian food embargo after having received a high number of suspect applications.


Commission officials said the EU will come forward with "a more targeted scheme," after announcing that emergency market measures for fruit and vegetable producers unveiled on 18th August had been suspended.


The measures were brought in to provide support for growers whose perishable produce could not be stored and who did not have enough time to find alternative markets, when the trade ban was declared on 7th August. However, the Commission announced on Thursday that "the scheme has to be closed due to a disproportionate surge in claims… the figures submitted for some products are several times higher than the total EU average annual exports to Russia."


Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Cioloş said in a statement on Thursday, "The European Commission remains committed to support those producers who have suddenly lost an important market because of the Russian measures. I intend to present a new scheme in the coming days which is more targeted and efficient and which will continue on from this scheme."


The initial scheme, worth €125 million (£100m), covered a range of produce including apples, pears, tomatoes, carrots, cabbages, sweet peppers, cauliflowers and headed broccoli, cucumbers and gherkins, mushrooms, plums, soft fruit, [eating] grapes and kiwifruit. Under the scheme, produce would be withdrawn from the market – through buy-ups for free redistribution, storage or green harvesting.


Under the conditions of the aid scheme, Member States' authorities were obliged to notify the Commission of the volumes claimed every Monday and Thursday. The ceiling for claims was reached by 3rd September, according to reports sent to the Commission on Monday 8th September.  


An anonymous EU source told press agency AFP that compensation claims for cucumbers and gherkins from Poland amounted to 487 percent of the annual EU exports to Russia.