Minister lobbies hard for sanction-hit dairy sector support

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Agriculture Minister Jānis Dūklavs, upon returning from Brussels Wednesday, told business portal that the European Commission (EC) must take Latvia’s uniquely specific situation in its national dairy sector into account in order to effectively ease the impact of Russia’s countervailing food imports embargo against the EU.

He told Thursday that the EC has been looking at the issue too narrowly, focusing first on dry milk powder and hard cheese segments, whereas Latvia’s dairy sector farms and food processing businesses exported a far broader variety of milk-based goods to Russia.

“That’s why I stressed to (the EC) that in fully estimating these losses they must also look at Latvia’s particular position, as our milk production sector has suffered strongly from Russia’s sanctions,” he said.

He went on to explain that the ministry is conducting its own estimates to determine precisely which companies are suffering the most.

“The EU must find a way to offer targeted support for Latvia’s dairy sector segments that Russia’s sanctions have affected, and we cannot back down from this demand,” he said.

During his visit to Brussels Dūklavs met with the EC’s Agriculture and Rural Development officials, the European Parliament’s (EP) Agriculture committee, as well as with the EP’s Foreign affairs committee member Sandra Kalniete.

Dūklavs had previously pointed to estimates slightly below €14m as a possible amount that could be forthcoming to support and compensate breeding adjustments within dairy cow herds by the end of the year. The government ruled to allocate €6m toward the sector in August.

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