Šmits: fruit farmers will have to go for EU support

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The losses caused by spring frosts are regarded as an emergency for farmers, and the aid will have to be sought both in Latvia and at the European level, Agriculture Minister Didzis Šmits (United List) told Latvian Television on June 8.

Due to the frost in early May, fruit farms have concluded that there are even losses of 80%-90% harvests. Therefore, the Latvian Association of Growers turned to the Ministry of Agriculture (ZM) for support in order to tidy up the fields and maintain the trees, because, unlike grain farmers, the fruit farmers cannot re-sow the areas and save the crop.

The Rural Support Service is currently compiling the potential damage suffered by the farmers in the devastating spring frost.

"It's really an emergency and there will be a need for help. I don't have money in my pocket right now, but it's clear that we'll have to go for money both in Latvia and at the European level," said Šmits.

In the meantime, the minister did not consider the fall in milk prices to be an emergency because it is affected by market fluctuations. “Here [in fruit farming] it is an emergency, climate conditions, this is an absolutely clear case where aid is logical, understandable and needed,” the minister said.

He recalled that the European Commission would come up with an offer to tackle the milk crisis next week. However, it is not possible to predict how the situation will develop, and summer has never been favorable to the dairy sector. “The expectations are for autumn,” the minister added.


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