Farmers' Saeima dissatisfied with EU funds planning

The conditions for receiving direct payments for the next planning period of the European Union (EU) funds prevent Latvian farmers from achieving the EU average level, said Juris Lazdins, Chairman of the association “Farmers Saeima”, in an interview on Latvian Television July 27.

“There is a certain illogical part […]. Yes, we see that, compared to the previous period, the amount of direct payments has increased by EUR 600 million, the amount for rural development in the end is minus EUR 33 million, which may not be so bad. But the conditions that come with these payments do, however, prevent us from receiving those payments or seeking a European average,” Lazdins said.

He said that farmers in Latvia currently receive EUR 130-140 per hectare in direct payments in their accounts. But it would be 95 euros per hectare in the future, Lazdins said.

He explained that the area payment currently consists of two parts: the flat area payment and the greening requirements, which in turn includes crop diversification and non-production areas. “During the next planning period, these components are mandatory for each farmer and no additional payments are due,” explained Lazdins.

At the same time, he acknowledged that no accusations would be made because he could not assess what the negotiations on the EU's multi-annual budget had been.

Over the next 7 years, the EU has dedicated €46 billion less to the common agricultural policy than it is today. However, Latvia has managed to get more money for farmers: 936 million in rural aid, 33 million less than now, but there will be a lot more money for direct payments – 2.4 billion – 693 million more than it is now. Overall, farmers will get 25% more money than in this programming period.

However, the Ministry of Agriculture expressed its displeasure with the decisions of the EU, as Latvian farmers will still remain with a much lower amount of EU aid.

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