(NaturalNews) Officials with the European Union have implemented "emergency" support measures aimed at providing cash to farmers hit hard by Russia's ban on imports of fruit and vegetables from the continent.
As reported by The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) and other media, the newly passed measures call for expenditures of as much as €125 million ($167.5 million) in EU (read EU taxpayer) funds to "compensate farmers of perishable fruits and vegetables that are now in the growing season."
The European Commission, which is the EU's executive arm, said the compensation program will be implemented immediately and would last until the end of November.
The available funds will be used to pay farmers for removing their produce from the marketplace in order to prevent surpluses of food that would then cause prices to fall (Heaven forbid).
The emergency measures are intended to "reduce overall supply of a number of fruit and vegetable products on the European market as and when price pressures become too great in the coming months," according to Dacian Ciolos, EU Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner.
Paying farmers to waste crops - to keep prices up
Moscow imposed import bans against the EU earlier this month in response to the alliance's decision to place economic sanctions on Russia for its presumed role in the continuing Ukraine crisis. The ban led to an outcry from Eurozone farmers who complained that they are being told to shoulder an unfair share of the burden for Europe's policy regarding the Ukraine.
Indeed, the bans from Russia have already caused the prices of some agricultural goods to drop, according to WSJ -- which you might think would be regarded as a good thing for EU consumers. But the bans have left EU farmers scrambling to find places to export their goods; Russia was their largest non-EU market.
The EU last year exported €8.8 billion ($11.79 billion) in food and live animals to Russia, according to Eurostat.
As further reported by the Journal:
The products covered under the announced measures include tomatoes, carrots, peppers, cauliflowers, cucumbers, apples, pears, berries, table grapes and kiwis. The markets for such fruit and vegetables are now in full season, and most have no storage option and no immediate alternative market available, the commission said.
"Acting early will provide an efficient support to the price paid to producers on the internal market, help the market adjust and be cost effective," Ciolos said.
Paying farmers to essentially waste food is an abomination, especially considering that so much of the undeveloped or under-developed world has millions of hungry people.
From International Business Times:
In the two weeks since the Russian embargo came into effect, there have been frequent reports of European food stocks going to waste. Campaigns had been launched across Europe for the European Commission to take up the lag.
The same thing -- paying farmers to essentially waste food or, worse, not plant it at all -- happens in the United States as well. If we're not pursuing inherently stupid anti-food policies like burning up millions of bushels of corn in our cars, the Department of Agriculture subsidizes farmers to leave certain crops, and certain fields, idle, to "support prices" (which is code for artificially inflating prices).
Waste not, want not
But the waste aspect is the worst. According to a 2013 report from the London-based Institution of Mechanical Engineers, the world produces about 4 billion metric tons of food a year, but 1.2 to 2 billion metric tons is not eaten.
"This level of wastage is a tragedy that cannot continue if we are to succeed in the challenge of sustainably meeting our future food demands," the report said.
How to change all that and still feed the world? Easy: personalized organic gardens.
As reported by the site TechnologyWater:
Even as the United States government continues to push for the use of more chemically-intensive and corporate-dominated farming methods such as GMOs and monoculture-based crops, the United Nations is once [again] sounding the alarm about the urgent need to return to (and develop) a more sustainable, natural and organic system.
Think about that as we witness the EU pay its farmers to waste tons of food that could otherwise be used to feed millions.