Farmers Cry Foul Over New Budget
The Chamber of Agriculture and Commerce and the Central Union of Estonian Farmers said they are unhappy with the 2015 state budget, recently passed by the government, as it does not offer farmers additional support next year despite Russian sanctions on food.
The two umbrella organizations for farmers said in a press release today that Estonia has, according to EU legislation, the right to hand its farmers an additional 23 million euros in subsidies, after EU agricultural funds, but Estonia has decided not to do so.
Roomet Sõrmus, the head of the Chamber of Agriculture and Commerce, said the Cabinet has not acknowledged the problems the sector is facing, and the last two governments have made budget cuts at the expense of agriculture.
Head of the central union, Kalev Kreegipuu, said the cost of sanctions implemented due to security matters should be covered by the entire society, not only certain sectors and companies.
Kreegipuu said the budget means farmers will have to do with smaller subsidies in the light of falling food prices.
The organizations said the new budget cuts direct assistance to farmers by 40 percent, while the previous government decided at the beginning of the year to decrease spending on regional development by 70 million euros.