Russian food import ban: European farming group urges stronger action


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Russian food import ban: European farming group urges stronger action

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European farming group Copa-Cogeca has said stronger action is needed to alleviate the impact of the Russian ban on EU food imports, although it has welcomed an aid package for fruits and vegetables.

Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree in August banning imports of beef, pork, fruit, poultry, cheeses and milk from the EU, US, Australia, Canada and Norway for one year. Russia is Europe's second-largest market for food and drink exports, and last year, exports of finished foods and ingredients to Russia were worth €12.2bn following several years of double-digit growth.

The European Commission on Monday announced a further €165m of aid for EU fruit and vegetable producers hit by the ban, on top of €125m of aid announced in August​. The fund draws on an emergency reserve of €420m provided under CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) legislation to compensate for market disruption.

Copa-Cogeca said the move would help relieve market pressure but stronger action would be needed in January when production volumes would be higher.

Copa-Cogeca secretary-general Pekka Pesonen said in a statement: “We are pleased that the Commission has announced a further package of measures which are more targeted and will help to reduce pressure on the market. The sector has been hit badly, since 29% of EU fruit and vegetable exports are normally sent to Russia. But we are disappointed that it took the Commission so long to introduce the new package of measures.”

Pesonen urged the Commission to help farmers find other export markets for their produce.

Announcing the extra funding on Monday, EU agricultural commissioner Dacian Cioloş said: “This programme will be more targeted than the initial scheme, although there is still some flexibility within the four product groups. These market support measures will provide short-term relief.​"

Further information on the scheme is available here​.

Pesonen added that further action also would be required in the pigmeat and dairy sectors, such as setting up promotional campaigns for pigmeat, and updating intervention prices in the milk sector to allow for rising production costs.

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