July 13, 2015


EU dairy farmers still hurting from Russian food embargo



European dairy farmers continue to languish due to the Russian ban on food imports as well as due to market instability.


Thus said Phil Hogan, the European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, who was interviewed by investor.bg during the launching of the pilot stage of a Social Development Initiative project in Bulgaria on Friday, July 10.


He said the sector is expected to continue experiencing difficulties at least until the end of the year, adding that the EU was helping provide new market opportunities for dairy producers in the 28-nation bloc including Bulgaria.


The EU, for example, is providing subsidies to Bulgarian dairy farmers, Hogan said.


He added, though, that the EU's main focus of support for agricultural producers were those who used to rely on exports to Russia.


Biggest export market


Russia was EU's biggest export market for butter and cheese before Russia imposed an embargo on agricultural and food product imports from Australia, Canada, the EU, the US and Norway starting August 7 last year to retaliate the trade sanctions those countries imposed over Russia's backing of separatist rebels in Ukraine.   


The Russian embargo will continue until June 24 next year in response to the decision of the EU to extend its economic sanctions against Russia until mid-January next year.


The Irish Co-operative Organisation Society is pushing the European Commission to be more proactive, pushing for more EU intervention "as dairy in particular is suffering in what is really a geopolitical game that has nothing to do with our industry."

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