The embargo significantly affects citrus farmers in Cyprus as some €10.7 million of the country’s €13.5m food exports to Russia is connected to this type of fruit.
Russia put the ban in place in August in retaliation to EU sanctions connected to the country’s activities in the Ukraine. The Cabinet’s decision on the emergency is expected to amount to some €4m for the citrus farmers.
An Agriculture Ministry announcement said the European Commission had decided to introduce the extraordinary funding on September 29. The Cabinet’s decision came after Agriculture Minister Nicos Kouyialis proposed citrus farmers be included in the support during the informal Cabinet meeting on September 5. The Cypriot products covered by the relevant regulation are oranges, clementines and mandarins.
The Ministry said that the measures concern 18,620 tonnes of early harvest (green harvest) mandarins and oranges and withdrawal from the market and free distribution of 600 tonnes of mandarins, orange varieties and varieties of clementines. This brings compensation to around €200 per tonne of produce.
The measures cover members as well as non-members of producer organisations and the percentage of compensation, up to 100% if ripe produce is then given away to charity, is set by category-related regulations.
To be included in the scheme, farmers with produce that is not yet ripe will have to harvest it and ultimately make it unfit for human consumption.
Entitled farmers must apply for the emergency funding by the end of the year.
Kouyialis may request additional funding from the EU for vegetable farmers.