Russia, the biggest buyer of European pears, last month banned an array of food imports from the European Union, U.S. and other countries that supported sanctions against it over conflicts in Ukraine. The restrictions pushed prices lower for everything from Spanish peaches to Latvian cabbage to Finnish dairy products, according to Brussels-based farm lobby Copa-Cogeca.
In the wake of the Russian ban, the EU announced support measures for fruit and vegetable producers worth 125 million euros ($162 million), which include payments for non-harvesting of crops and for free distribution of fruit to charities, hospitals or schools. About 82 million euros of the total will be allotted to apple and pear producers, said Roger Waite, a spokesman for the European Commission, the EU’s administrative arm.
Exports of all EU food products now banned by Russia were worth 5.1 billion euros last year, representing 4.2 percent of the bloc’s total agricultural shipments, according to the European Commission. About 29 percent of the EU’s fruit and vegetable exports went to Russia, and the sector is the most affected by the ban because the products are perishable, the Commission said in a Sept. 3 report.
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