Minister: Latvian agriculture is facing an emergency due to drought

Latvia is not far from announcing an emergency in agriculture due to drought, Minister of Agriculture Didzis Šmits (United List) said in an interview with Latvian Radio on June 15.

The Minister stated that the introduction of an emergency could be assessed around Midsummer.

At the same time, Latvian farmers can look forward to European aid in compensation, said Šmits. He added there might also be aid at the state level.

“Unfortunately, we are not far from an emergency in agriculture. [..]It is clear that emergency assistance will be needed at the level of government and Europe,” Šmits noted.

According to the current forecast, the grain harvest could be 30% to 50% smaller than forecast, according to the Agriculture Ministry.

This year, little rainfall has been observed in May and June, which means that soil in the fields is currently drier than usual. In May, it rained 85% less than the monthly rainfall rate.

The latest climate challenge for farmers comes not long after late spring frosts caused problems for berry growers and others. 

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