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Russian embargo hitting Croatian mandarin growers hard


European Commission says additional targeted support measures cover mandarins


About half of all mandarin exports from Croatia’s Neretva Valley ended up in Russia, last year. This year a record harvest of 80,000 tons is expected but many growers risk going bust due to the combined effects of the Russian embargo and an already difficult economic context, according to Croatian member of the European Parliament Davor Ivo Stier (PPE).

Stier said it will be hard for them to find alternative markets in a short period. The total value of the mandarin market in Croatia is roughly €50 million and an estimated 10,000 people there depend on mandarins as a main or additional source of income.

“A large amount of money has been invested up to this point in production materials,” Stier said. “As a result of these investments and of people’s hard work, this year it was anticipated that revenues for the sector would amount to €30‐40 million. However, Russia’s embargo, coupled with an already‐difficult economic situation, could result in many mandarin producers collapsing.”

In answer to Stier’s questions about the mandarin growers’ eligibility for exceptional support from the EU agricultural crisis fund for the effects of the Russian sanctions, Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Cioloş said on behalf of the Commission that there is now support for mandarin growers.

Support for citrus producers was not included in its initial exceptional market support measures. “However, the Commission has prepared additional targeted support measures for fruit and vegetables hit by the Russian ban taking into account new harvest and export seasons. The new measures include mandarins and (were) published on 30 September,” Cioloş said.