Agriculture Minister: Farmers should be more serious about insurance

The basis for farmers' safety against the damage of natural disasters is insurance, Agriculture Minister Armands Krauze (Union of Greens and Farmers) said in an interview with LETA October 30.

“Latvia has historically chosen the insurance route, but of course, not all farmers insure their activities,” the minister noted.

He emphasized that significant public funds are invested in programs that farmers can use to cover part of the insurance policy costs, so farmers have to consider insurance.

“Well, it can't be that every year something happens, it takes money from the state budget. The state budget is all taxpayers' money and its funds should not be spent covering losses that could also have been insured against,” Krauze said.

He cited this year's hail as an example. As such cases happen once every 50 or 100 years, the country must come to help during the emergency. Krauze noted that a lot has been done this year. Among them is an investment program that can be applied for to renovate the destroyed buildings.

“But as far as fields are concerned, here I must remind you that there is insurance against hail risk. As a farmer myself, I have insured against it, and hail is one of the most common risks, especially for rapeseed farmers, where even a small hail can damage the entire harvest,” Krauze said.

On the other hand, as regards the risks that farmers cannot insure themselves against, the Minister pointed out that in such cases the problem should be viewed differently.

“Natural conditions - hail, storm - are happening regardless of us, but if we're talking about wildlife, then here we have to talk about the mechanisms we've adopted ourselves, how we regulate the number of these animals,” Krauze said.

He explained that this applies to both wolves and bears, migratory birds. There are laws in the country that prohibit many of animal species from being hunted, but in that case, there must be a compensation mechanism on the part of the state to make good the damage caused by wildlife.

“I consider that it is wrong to regard them as risks which should be covered. The State has committed itself from the point of view of nature and wildlife conservation, which means that the State must also find a balance to compensate for the losses caused thereby,” Krauze noted.

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