The readiness of the European Union to respond to market failures and price fluctuations in the agricultural sector needed to improve, Minister of Rural Affairs Urmas Kruuse (Reform) said at a meeting with the EU's agriculture commissioner Phil Hogan on Friday.
"The European Union has spent almost a billion euros to improve the market situation of the agricultural sector in recent years, a significant portion of which on finding new export markets for farmers," Kruuse said in a press release following the meeting with Hogan in Tallinn.
"The Baltic countries have been the most affected by the crisis, and this has been taken into account in the European Union’s aid packages. At the same time it's clear that emergency assistance alone will not solve the situation – the only long-term solution can be the selling of products," he said.
Kruuse said one of the issues that needed to be solved to improve the market situation of the farming sector was unfair trading practices.
"The commissioner said that the European Commission was conducting an analysis of ways to improve the position of the farmer in the supply chain, so that agricultural companies would get a fairer price for their products," the minister said.
Kruuse said that as agriculture was a common EU policy issue, readiness to react to market failures and price fluctuations in the sector had to improve.
"This would mean, for instance, greater flexibility as regards the requirements for recipients of support that would allow a farmer to move to a different field of agricultural production if necessary," the minister said. "Besides, broader use of flexible financial instruments would provide farmers with an opportunity to exit the crisis."
Also talked about at the meeting was the EU’s agricultural policy over the next financing period, after 2020. Kruuse said that in the new period, measures to support the development of the bioeconomy should be applied at the EU level.
“A well-developed bioeconomy is a field that would support economic growth and the creation of new jobs in rural areas," Kruuse said. To increase the competitiveness of rural areas, one had to focus on activities in the new financing period to make sure small producers could survive, the minister added.
Editor: Editor: Dario Cavegn