Angus Growers wins court appeal over EU recognition

Scottish producer organisation Angus Growers has had its EU recognition restored and its funding reinstated, following a successful appeal at the Scottish Land Court in Edinburgh.

The organisation, which represents 19 soft fruit growers, had battled for two years to overturn its derecognition and loss of financial assistance, under the EU Fruit & Vegetable Aid Scheme.

The Rural Payments Agency (RPA), which administers the scheme in the UK, withdrew recognition from many producer organisation after alleged breaches of the regulations governing the scheme.

Angus Growers had earlier had two internal appeals against the RPA's decision rejected.

The court's verdict stated: "Angus Growers had attempted at every stage to comply with the advice given by the RPA." It added: "It would seem to follow in principle that the appellants should be found entitled to payment of all the sums that would have been paid to it in the absence of withdrawal of recognition."

Angus Growers chairman John Lang said afterwards: "Exclusion from the scheme has put us at a serious disadvantage and this reinstatement means that we will now be able to invest for the future to meet the growing demand for fresh, high-quality Scottish soft fruit."

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