Tree fruit growers from a dozen European countries who are struggling to find a market outlet for their produce as a result of Russia’s import ban are entitled to a share of the extended package of measures worth €70 million (£61.4 million).
However the UK is not included in the 12 member states earmarked.
Belgium, Germany, Greece, France, Spain, Croatia, Italy, Cyrus, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland and Portugal are on the list.
The scheme covers 165,835 tonnes of fruit, shared between four different types of trees: apples and pears; plums; citrus fruits; and peaches and nectarines.
According to Commission data, different withdrawal volumes will apply to make sure financial support reaches the producers “most in need.”
For instance, Poland is the largest beneficiary with 75,565 tonnes of apples and pears allocated, 425 tonnes of plums and 510 of peaches and nectarines.
Initially a package of measures were introduced by the European Commission in the wake of the Russian import ban in August 2014. This latest round of support will compensate farmers who choose to distribute excess crops to charity or schools as well as animal feed, compost and processing.
“This was a very targeted measure and these are the 12 member states that are concerned regarding their fruit productions and their need for support,” European Commission spokesperson Robin Clemence tells PBUK.
“There are ongoing existing support measures in place all year long for fruit and vegetable producers for all member states with available quotas that any members can use for any product.”
Speaking about how the 12 countries have been selected, Clemence added: “It is also in terms of production, we see what member states produce what and what segments of products were more affected by the Russian ban – that is how it has been worked out.”
Individual producers will benefit from higher rates of EU co-financing than under regular support measures. Farmers receive 100% EU-funded support for withdrawals for free distribution which avoids food waste, while fruit that is withdrawn from the market but not actually consumed or that is harvested before it is ripe (green-harvesting) or not harvested at all, receives lower levels of support.
“The Commission has done everything in its power to support European producers negatively affected by the Russian ban. This latest extension sends yet another clear signal that we will remain firmly and fearlessly on the side of our farmers,” says Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan.
“These support measures go hand in hand with our ongoing work to modernise and simplify the CAP for the benefit of both our farmers and our wider European society.”
The latest round is in addition to several other exceptional support measures for the agricultural market to mitigate the Russian ban which, according to the Commission, have already improved the market situation for non-permanent crops, typically vegetables.
Most of the production has been redirected to other markets and prices have stabilised, but because fruit trees are less likely to adapt to changing situations, the new measures have been created to focus on this sector.