Yesterday's Management Committee has voted through an emergency aid package for fresh vegetable growers worth €210 million. This scheme, initiated by EU Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Cioloș, will allow for the EU to pay producers for cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, courgettes, and sweet peppers that have been withdrawn from the market since May 26 as a result of the E-coli outbreak in Northern Germany.
The decision foresees paying a maximum rate of 50% of the usual producer price in June. The final figure will only be confirmed on July 22 once member states confirm the volumes that will be covered. The scheme also provides Producer Organisations with some additional flexibility in compensating associated farmers for withdrawals of their vegetables from the market.
The Commission Regulation will be published in the Official Journal in the coming days after which producers can apply for support.
Following the identification of the origin of the contamination, EU Agriculture and Rural development Commissioner Dacian Cioloș stated: "I am relieved that the source of the contamination has now been identified, and that consumers can now enjoy fresh vegetables in full confidence. I am optimistic that consumption will pick up very quickly."
On yesterday's vote, the Commissioner said: "This is an important signal for fresh vegetable growers because I was very keen to show that Europe can react quickly when it needs to. European agriculture has become more and more market-oriented in recent years. However, this crisis again highlights that the market alone is not sufficient for something as strategically important as agriculture. These are elements that we must bear in mind when it comes to fixing the rules and the budget for the CAP after 2013."