As harvest time approaches across Europe, many farmers are worried about how much revenue they will make this fall because of trade restrictions with Russia. These trade restrictions, a result of the ongoing conflict in the Ukraine, have had a large impact on European growers, who ship an estimated 5.2 billion euros worth of produce to Russian markets. With Russia’s embargo on European goods, farmers across the European Union are scrambling to find new markets to sell their goods, or risk large price reductions as a result of smaller demand.
Most analysts are predicting that the loss of the Russian market for farmers will have a large impact on this year’s harvest, mostly due to the timing of the embargo. With the Russian embargo announced so close to the harvest for most farmers, there has not been enough time to find new markets to send the excess produce to. If the farmers cannot find new markets, the excess supply will force food prices down, greatly hurting the segments of the European farming industry dependent on Russia.
To help alleviate the effects of the Russian embargo, the EU announced $170 million worth of aid for European farmers. The money will mostly be used to take food and produce off the European market, helping keep prices from falling too low. The EU has also begun efforts to pressure several countries, including Egypt, Turkey, and Brazil, to not undermine their trade sanctions on Russia. Many in Europe are worried that these countries could replace European farmers by sending food imports to Russia, easing the pain of the trade restrictions for Russia while also introducing new trade relationships that could harm European farmers in the future. Famers throughout Europe are hoping that the EU can convince these countries not to support Russia, because if not, the ramifications of the Russian embargo could be felt for years to come.