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EU compensates fruit and veg growers hit by Russian ban Print
The European Commission has announced emergency EU funding of 125m euros (ZAR 1.8b) for fruit and vegetable growers hit by Russia's ban on most imported Western food.
 
The funding is compensation for fresh produce which will not be sold. Instead it will be distributed free to schools, hospitals and other institutions.
 
Tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, grapes and pears are included in the scheme.
 
Russia has banned many food imports, angry at EU-US sanctions over Ukraine.
 
Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel insisted on Monday that the EU sanctions must stay in place "in order to show how serious we are" on the Ukraine crisis.
 
EU and US sanctions are targeting top Russian officials and key economic sectors, such as energy and finance, as Western leaders accuse the Kremlin of destabilising eastern Ukraine by supporting the pro-Russian separatists there.
 
The first round of Western sanctions came after Russia annexed Crimea in March.
 
Last week the Commission announced plans to pay peach and nectarine growers for 10% of their crop, and the new funding expands that aid to many more producers.
 
The measures will apply until the end of November.
 
The food types covered by the new compensation scheme are: tomatoes, carrots, white cabbage, peppers, cauliflowers, cucumbers and gherkins, mushrooms, apples, pears, red berries, table grapes and kiwis.
 
On 7 August, Russia declared a one-year embargo on meat, fish, dairy products, fruit and vegetables from the EU, the United States, Canada, Australia and Norway in retaliation for Western economic sanctions.
 
EU fruit exports to Russia last year were worth 1.07bn euros (?855m; $1.4bn) - the biggest agricultural export sector, ahead of dairy produce and meat.
 
Lithuania, Poland, Finland and Denmark each face losses running into hundreds of millions of euros because of the Russian ban, the Financial Times reports.
 
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