EU farmers will receive financial aid of up to €125 million to help them cope with the impact of Russia's ban on most Western food imports, said the European Commission.
The one-year embargo on the export of meat, fish, dairy, fruit and vegetables from the United States, the European Union, Canada, Australia and Norway, in retaliation for Western economic sanctions over Moscow's actions in Ukraine, has created a surplus of fruit and vegetables in peak harvest time, according to the European Commission (EC).
As a result, the Commission said it will draw on provisions in the reformed Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) - which includes an emergency reserve of €420 million in total to compensate for market disruption. From this fund, the EC has announced a €125m fund to aid farmers by compensating for products withdrawn from the market and distributed free or not harvested.
The money will be available between now and the end of November, said the EC.
"With effect from today, I am triggering CAP emergency measures which will reduce the 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 Agriculture 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."
Cioloș exlpained that the aim of the measure is to reduce some of the surplus in the market by giving producers funding to compensate for fruit and vegetables that are either withdrawn from the market and distributed free or not harvested in the first place.