Defra's refusal to award compensation for Russia import ban "a slap in the face" for UK growers

UK growers will not be eligible for compensation for the consequences of Russia's fresh produce imports ban, the government has confirmed.

Unpicked fruit - image:Mac Armstrong
Unpicked fruit - image:Mac Armstrong

In a letter to the NFU, Defra officials stated: "Ministers do not believe that destroying edible UK produce would be an acceptable use of public money."

Under a revised EU compensation scheme announced last month, UK growers would have been eligible for compensation of up to 3,000 tonnes of produce sales lost as an indirect consequence of the ban.

NFU chief horticulture and potatoes adviser Chris Hartfield said Defra's reasoning as "totally flawed", saying: "The amount of aid on offer was not sufficient to encourage growers to destroy produce that they would have otherwise sold.  

"Some UK growers, like others in the EU, have had no choice but to destroy produce because there is no longer a buyer and a market for it – the aid package would have simply helped minimise their losses."

Horticulture and Potatoes Board chairman Guy Poskitt added: "This feels like a slap in the face.

"Ministers have again denied UK producers the opportunity to take up aid which is otherwise being snapped up by our European neighbours. How can we compete against imports when we are consistently facing an uneven playing field?"


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