Farmers uncertain about survival after spring frosts

Take note – story published 1 year ago

Farmers, especially fruit and berry growers, are currently in a difficult situation because the damage caused by the frost has severely damaged farms. The Latvian Agricultural Cooperative Association meets with fruit and berry producers on Wednesday to discuss the impact of the devastating frost of spring.

Māra Rudzāte, Chair of the Board of the Latvian Fruit Growers Association, said that there are different losses on each farm, but sweet cherries are the most affected, where there will be no harvest at all in certain holdings this year. For blueberries, losses are estimated at 80-90% of all plants, blackcurrants around 70%, and apple trees 50-60%, Rudzāte noted. Plums, raspberries, and other fruit trees and bushes have also suffered from the frost.

According to the representatives of the holdings, it is easier for those who have savings, properties to sell, or other sources of income, such as grain. However, there are many serious cases where the farm only deals with fruit farming, where, if the harvest is lost in full, there is nowhere to earn. 

The farms hope the government will listen and provide financial support at least for lost yields to be able to recover those amounts of loss.

“If we look at the total amount of compensation, which is necessary for us to maintain the same production level next year, first of all, we have to look at the total areas – approximately 2.5 thousand hectares, according to our estimates. However, in each holding, the amount of losses is different: in individual holdings, it is almost 100%, in others only half, in others, maybe 20%, in others only 10%, but if we multiply that figure with the amount of money needed to prepare one hectare, it is between 2 and 4 thousand [euros] on average per hectare," said Rolands Feldmanis, director general of the Latvian Agriculture Cooperation Agency.

Feldmanis also estimated that the minimum amount required would be measured in millions, it could be EUR 5, 10, or even EUR 15 million.

As reported earlier, harvests this year are affected by frost in late spring, as well as by the presence of pests.

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