The latest: Farmers in Europe will be paid to destroy or give away fruit and vegetables to stop prices from collapsing after Russia banned imports in retaliation for Western sanctions.

EU officials said Monday they were setting aside 125 million euros ($167 million) to compensate producers for not selling a range of perishable items, harvesting them before they ripen or leaving them to rot.

“This is a measure aimed at reducing the level of supply so the prices don’t drop to crisis levels,” said European Commission spokesman Roger Waite.

Russia hit back at the latest round of Western sanctions over Ukraine with its own year-long ban on imports of food from Europe, the U.S., Australia, Canada and Norway.

The emergency assistance will take effect immediately and run until November, under existing EU rules covering support for farmers’ incomes in times of crisis.

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