The European Commission is to provide the equivalent of £3.5m towards the cost of a batch of new programmes to promote the consumption of apples and citrus fruit in the European Union. Total cost of the ten programmes is just under £6m with the balance being met by the Member States.

The promotions will be in Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Spain, France, Netherlands, Austria and the United Kingdom. In Britain the campaign will be handled by UK Apples and Pears and will involve both fresh and processed fruit. The British campaign is costed at £280,000, of which Brussels will provide £167,000.

The biggest promotional spending will be in France and Germany (fresh apples) and Spain (apples and citrus fruit). Commission officials said there was a standing budget to promote consumption of apples and citrus fruit but there had to be a balance between producers’ claims and the cash available. “These action programmes will provide important assistance to producers who in some member states are finding market conditions very difficult,” said an official.

By Alan Osborn