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June 9, 2011

EU: Improved E. coli compensation offer fails to win over farmers

European farmers federation Copa-Cogeca has called for more compensation for farmers hit by the E. coli crisis, insisting that the improved proposal from The European Commission is still too low.

European farmers federation Copa-Cogeca has called for more compensation for farmers hit by the E. coli crisis, insisting that the improved proposal from The European Commission is still too low.

The group said yesterday (8 June) that it welcomed the proposal for compensation of EUR210m (US$305m), up from the initial EUR150m put forward by the Commission on Tuesday. However, the union warned the revised amount would “not be enough to recover their substantial losses”.

The new offer proposed by the Commission would raise the amount of compensation to 50% of the average selling price of vegetables between 2007 and 2010. The earlier proposal equated to 30% of prices over that period.

Copa-Cogeca wants compensation for farmers if a link between falling fresh produce price are due to the E. coli outbreak.

Secretary-general Pekka Pesonen insisted that more funds must be made available to “help pull the sector out of this deep crisis”.

“Savings in agriculture expenditure have been made this year from the budget of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and this must be used to assist all growers and producer organisations hit by this crisis. The emergency funds should be distributed equitably among the member states where the damage has occurred,” said Pesnonen.

He added that in normal market conditions, withdrawals are limited and equally co-financed by growers and by the EU. “Producer organisations will also be responsible for exceptional withdrawals, which is going to generate additional burdens and costs for them [and] which have to be recovered as well,” Pesonen said.

Copa-Cogeca has also called for a large-scale campaign to boost consumption of fruit and vegetables and restore consumer confidence.

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