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Putin prolongs Western food ban

Spanish fruit and vegetable growers are among those asking the European Commission to urgently adopt new aid measures for them amid Russia’s extension of its veto on certain Western food imports.

Spanish fruit and vegetable growers are among those asking the European Commission to urgently adopt new aid measures for farmers amid Russia’s extension of its veto on certain Western food imports.

The Russian move came in retaliation to the EU decision to prolong until January sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine conflict.

Russia’s original ban – which applied to food products including vegetables, fruit, beef, pork, fish and dairy products from the EU, the US, Canada, Norway and Australia – was introduced last August. Yesterday, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced he was extending it, “by one year beginning from today.”

Fepex, the Spanish federation of associations of producers and exporters of fruit, vegetables, flowers and live plants, immediately called on the European Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan to extend the exceptional measures used by the Commission to help EU fruit and vegetable growers affected by the existing ban.

In a letter to Hogan, Fepex said the Russian ban on the import of EU fruit and vegetables in force since last August had deprived the Spanish fruit and vegetable sector of the top non-EU export market. “There are no alternative markets that can compensate for this loss,” it said.

Fepex calculates Spanish fruit and vegetable exports to non-EU countries in the first quarter of this year were down 17% – a total of 218 million tons – on the same period in 2014. It said the extension of the veto “will worsen a major crisis in the EU summer fruit market” and called for the Commission to urgently adopt market crisis management measures.

Meanwhile, Murcia’s Ramón Luis Valcárcel Siso, a member of the European Parliament from Spain’s ruling Partido Popular party, in a written question in the Parliament has called for stone fruit to be covered under the earlier exceptional support measures.

He said these existing measures did not contain any exceptional support for Spanish plums, table grapes, kiwifruit, peaches, apricots or nectarines.

“Exports to alternative markets have not absorbed the 60,698 tons which were previously exported to Russia. Measures need to be taken therefore to prevent prices falling as they did between 2013 and 2014 (by 32.3% for plums, 36.7% for yellow flesh peaches and 44.9% for yellow flesh nectarines). The marketing season started in April and farmers are now extremely concerned,” he said.

Photo of Russian President Vladimir Putin: [CC BY 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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Recent impact of Russian ban on prices for certain EU produce

European Commission presentation on the impact of the Russian import ban on prices for certain fruits and vegetables.

There’s been an upward trend for mushroom prices and stable prices for pears, carrots, kiwis, and oranges and lemons in the EU, according to the European Commission.

But the price situation for tomatoes and peppers has been mixed and there’s been a downward trend for apples.

That’s according to a presentation on the impact of the Russian import ban on prices for certain fruits and vegetables which the Agriculture and Rural Development Directorate made at the February 17 meeting of the Committee for the Common Organisation of the Agricultural Markets.

Hightlights of the presentation include:


Prices decreased in the two Member States with the lowest prices (-6.8% to 20 EUR/100 kg in PL and -4% to 26.6 EUR/100 kg in DE).
Prices registered stability (current prices are 8.8% under the historical average).

Prices over 3-year average (22.2% higher for oranges and 6.7% for lemons).

Significant price reduction in IT and moderate in ES (current average for tomatoes is 9,8% above the 3- year average).


Exchange rates of Dollar to both Euro and Zloty: extra-EU exports and opening new export markets more attractive, helping to restore market balance.
New export destinations: The US has lifted an old ban on imports of French apples and pears from, following a bilateral agreement on sanitary controls.
Lower supply in Southern EU due to adverse weather conditions and low temperatures: Positive impact on prices.


Positive trend:
Mushrooms (downward trend reversed last week)
Price stability:
Pears (BE price = 46.5)
Carrots (lowest prices in NL & PL)
Kiwis (prices much higher than 3-year average)
Oranges & lemons
Downward trend:
Apples (20 EUR/100 kg in PL and 26.6 in DE)
Mixed situation:


Screenshot 2015-03-10 at 18.58.08.png

Screenshot 2015-03-10 at 18.57.47.png


Evolution of EU prices of certain F&V
European Commission DG Agriculture and Rural Development Directorate C. Single CMO, economics and analysis of agricultural markets






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More European Commission help for states most harmed by Russian veto

euro comm


Amid tumbling prices, the European Commission has promised further aid for member states most affected by the Russian ban blocking imports of certain EU products.

Its additional emergency measures for perishable fruit and vegetables will run until the end of next June. However, its total spending under existing such measure and the new scheme will remain below the €165 million it initially set as the maximum expenditure.

Based on historic export volumes to Russia in the last three years, it says it will now set new eligible volumes for the withdrawn from the market of certain fruit and vegetables for 12 member states.

EU agricultural commissioner Phil Hogan acknowledged that while the current exceptional support programme – which expire on December 31 – eased pressure on fruit and vegetable growers following the Russian ban, “a downward pressure on prices persists for some products in some regions of the EU.”

In a press release, the commission said the new scheme will apply to the 12 member states “which exported most fruit and vegetables to Russia on average during the January-May period (April to May for certain fruit where the January to March period was already covered by the previous measure) during the last three years.”

Before the ban, Spain’s fruit and vegetable sector alone sold “goods worth approximately EUR 225 million to Russia,” according to Spanish member of the European Parliament Esteban González Pons (PPE).

For more information on the EU measures:  Market support for perishable fruit & vegetable to continue in 2015”