€210m emergency aid for E coli-hit growers
A €210m emergency compensation package for vegetable producers is set be approved by the European Commission today in the wake of the E coli crisis.
Producers of cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes, courgettes and peppers will be eligible for 50pc of the usual seasonal price for the products.
Compensation will be paid to all producers, regardless of whether they are members of producer organisations or not.
However, the compensation package will do little to cheer vegetable growers who have lost millions of euro and been forced to dump thousands of tonnes of fresh produce.
European farmers union Copa-Cogeca has estimated that the Spanish vegetable and fruit sector is haemorrhaging about €200m a week. The industry was worth some €2bn to the Spanish economy last year.
Meanwhile, Italian and Dutch losses are estimated to be losing €100m and €50m a week respectively.
Irish cucumber producer Kevin Connolly said his cucumber sales were slashed by 30-40pc in the past week.
He added that he and other Irish growers would apply for compensation if they were forced to dump stock.