More EU cash for E.coli hit farmers

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The Independent Online

The European Commission today boosted its emergency cash package for Europe's farmers in the wake of confusion over the E.coli outbreak.







Only a day after setting a cash aid ceiling of £135 million to compensate producers facing a sales slump and the enforced dumping of fresh goods in case of contamination, Brussels increased the sum to £187 million and backdated eligibility for payment to May 26.



EU Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Ciolos told a press conference in Brussels: "The source of the E.coli epidemic is still not known but the priority is to stop the health crisis and restore consumer trust.



"But at the same time we must avoid a situation where entire sectors such as vegetables are unjustly affected by the situation: we cannot abandon the farmers."



He said the new higher sum being made available represented up to 50% of the average value of the relevant fruit and vegetables between 2008-2010, instead of 30% on the basis of yesterday's proposal.



Payments would be made to farmers who are either members of producers' organisations or who are registered with a sales contract and have suffered losses.



The Commission, he said, would "take stock" of the scale of claims at the end of June.

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