EC supports European Farmers Facing Russian Import Ban
The program was first introduced last year in response to the Russian ban on the import of EU agricultural products. The EC’s recent decision follows Russia’s move to extend its import ban for another 12 months.
The Russian embargo came in August 2014 after the EU invoked sanctions against Moscow for its role in the crisis in Ukraine. EU exports of fruits and vegetables have decreased by 12 percent since the imposition of the ban, according to an EC document. Belgian producers have lost $500 million in agricultural exports in the last year, according to a published report.
The EC report consists of emergency measures to stabilize prices and provide funds for additional promotional activity. Resources have been allocated to member states on the basis of exports to Russia in the three years prior to the ban, with an additional quantity of up to 3,000 tons for all member states.
“The significant actions taken to date by the European Union have demonstrated the solidarity of the EU with farmers most affected by the Russian ban,” said Phil Hogan, the European agriculture commissioner. “With the ban prolonged, we need to continue to provide a safety net in order to give security to producers who continue to face difficulties in relation to the ban.”
Despite the existence of the ban for over a year, the EU agri-food sector has done well, according to an EC document. Most of the affected sectors have been able to find alternative markets, either within the EU or beyond. While the products banned amounted to four percent of EU agri-food exports in 2013, the value of exports has increased by five percent from August 2014 to May 2015, compared to a year earlier.
Major gains have been achieved in the value of exports of agri-food products to the U.S., China, Switzerland, Hong Kong and South Korea. Among the banned products, meat has done particularly well.
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