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Finnish Farmers Claim Loss of €400 Million Due to Russia's EU Food Ban

Counter-sanctions biting

HELSINKI, September 16 (TASS) - Finnish farmers have lost €400 million euros due to food embargo imposed by Russia last year, Finland’s Central Union of Agricultural Producers (MTK) said in a report distributed on Tuesday.

More than half of losses lie with dairy producers, MTK added. The European Union (EU) made a decision earlier to allocate additional €9 million to Finnish farmers to counter negative consequences of Russia’s ban on importing EU’s certain production. MTK expressed disappointment over the measure saying that "the European Commission does not understand the effect that Russia’s food embargo has on Finnish agricultural sector."

"It looks like aid is allocated to countries with large agrarian sector mainly because of production volumes and other reasons, and not on the basis of problems created by Russia’s counter-sanctions, MTK executive director Antti Sahi said. "We are extremely disappointed by this end result," he added.

The excess of dairy products, potatoes and meat on the Finnish market because of Russia’s ban to import these products led to prices falling by at least 5-12%.

The Finnish government promised dairy producers financial aid last year. Apart from that, EU allocated compensation to Finnish farmers worth more than €11 million. However, MTK repeatedly described these measures as insufficient, in particular because they did not include farmers supplying meat and potatoes. More than that, producers demanded to organize free storehouses for all excess goods.

The European Union extended on June 22 its sanctions against Russia until January 31, 2016. On June 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on prolonging Russia’s counter-sanctions until August 5, 2016. Russia’s countermeasures involve a ban on the imports of beef, poultry, pork, dairy products, live, chilled and frozen fish and shellfish, nuts, fruits and vegetables.

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