EU will support dairy sector: Straujuma

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Latvian dairy farmers can hope for additional support from the EU, said Latvian Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma in an interview with TV on Tuesday morning.

She said that during the informal meeting of the EU agricultural and fishery ministers taking place in Riga on Monday and continuing Tuesday, she had discussed extra support for Latvian dairy farmers.

"We discussed possibilities to grant additional support to the Baltic and Finnish dairy farmers. I cannot promise it, but the issue was discussed. The Baltic states and Finland have been severely hit by Russian sanctions, therefore the European Commission might assess additional support," said the prime minister.

She also said that the Agricultural Ministry should prepare estimates on the size of necessary support.

However, Straujuma also said that farmers should not bank on additional support from the state budget. "It is not likely that we will find additional millions in the state budget, there is the health sector and others in line," she said.

Milk purchase prices in the Baltic states have dropped below prime costs after Russia introduced food products embargo. The Latvian Farmers' Parliament organization has warned that if the situation does not change, a number of dairy farms will go bust in coming months.

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