EC earmarks emergency milk package for Baltics

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The European Commission announced its “intention to adopt a €28m support package for milk producers in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania… in response to the Russian ban on the importation of certain EU agricultural products” in a press release Tuesday.

Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan said the EC would “provide support in the form of a financial envelope for each of the three countries which will support those dairy farmers which, as a result of the Russian ban, are encountering liquidity problems in exceptional circumstances."

The amount of support being provided to each of the three countries is €6.9m for Estonia, €7.7m for Latvia and €14.1m for Lithuania, based on their respective 2013/2014 milk production levels within national quotas.

The support measure for the Baltic countries follows earlier specific market support measures for peaches & nectarines, perishable fruit & vegetables and the dairy sector, as well as an additional €30 million for promotion programmes.

This measure will be a further Delegated Regulation taken under the Commission's own authority. Experts will be consulted on the measure on 20 November and the Commission will adopt the measure shortly afterwards.

Already the Ministry of Agriculture and dairy sector representatives have bemoaned the measures as falling far too short of actual need for compensation for the milk producers so hard-hit by the price plunge induced by Russia's food imports embargo against the EU and western nations. Most have adopted 'wait-and-see' attitudes.

Farmers' NGO Zemnieku Saeima representative Maira Dzelzkalēja told LSM the packet for Latvia would cover a month's worth of losses for the average dairy farmer or producer, whereas they were hoping for at least three months' worth of losses being compensated, which is the embargo's true impact on many.

European Parliament deputy Sandra Kalniete tried to assuage the concerns, saying these procurements are just 'first steps' in more help to come from yet-untapped reserve funds.


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