Bell peppers

Pepper growers are among those who can apply for financial aid to compensate market withdrawal

The European Commision (EC) has released €125m (£100m) of ‘emergency’ funding to help fruit and vegetable growers hit by Russia’s food import ban.

Growers of a number of affected products can now apply for financial aid to compensate market withdrawals - especially for free distribution - as well as non-harvesting and green harvesting.

Products that are eligible for financial support include: tomatoes, carrots, white cabbage, peppers, cauliflowers, cucumbers, and gherkins, mushrooms, apples, pear, table grapes and kiwis.

The EC said that markets for these products are in full season, with no storage option for most of them and no immediate alternative market available.

The measures were announced today (Monday 18 August) and will apply to any volumes withdrawn from today until the end of November. Last week Russia imposed a ban on all food and agricultural imports from the EU, leaving many exporters across Europe desperately searching for alternative markets.

Growers and producers are urged to act early to apply for any financial assistance to help the market adjust as quickly as possible.

“I am triggering CAP emergency measures which will reduce overall supply of a number of fruit and vegetable products on the European market as and when price pressures become too great in the coming months,” said EU agriculture and rural development commissioner Dacian Cioloș.

“All farmers of the concerned products – whether in producer organisations or not – will be eligible to take up these market support measures where they see fit. Acting early will provide an efficient support to the price paid to producers on the internal market, help the market adjust and be cost effective.”

The EC said it will continue to follow markets development for all sectors affected by the Russian ban, and will not hesitate to support further sectors heavily dependent on exports to Russia or to adapt today’s measured if necessary.