State could provide €6m in aid for dairy farms

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Due to low milk prices and non-availability of EU funds, the state could opt to pay €6m to help dairy farmers weather the crisis, reported Latvian Radio Wednesday.

Ringolds Arnītis, Parliamentary Secretary at the Agriculture Ministry, told Latvian Radio that half of the EU states haven't used the previously granted support payments.

"That's why at the moment there's no talk of extra support payments," he said, adding that the European Commission has stressed that by June the support granted in the previous period will have to be reviewed along with future plans by EU member states.

Farmers have welcomed the news, previously hinted at by Agriculture Minister Jānis Dūklavs, with Silvija Dreijere of the Latvian Agriculture Consultations Center saying that "hopefully [the support] will allow farmers to prepare fodder, at least the first harvest."

Dreijere said it has been voiced that funds will be distributed among all farmers keeping dairy cows, based on sales volumes.

Milk prices are forecast to reach lowest levels since the 2009 crisis. According to farmers' estimates, dairy farmers' losses will have grown to €96m by August. 

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