No additional agriculture subsidies before 2016, says minister
Agriculture Minister Ivari Padar said there will be no top-up subsidies for farmers before 2016 and even that will depend on the upcoming elections.
Padar said the EU has earmarked an additional 6.9 million euros for Estonian farmers due to low milk prices, and that sum will be paid out in February.
The state decided against the top-up policy of adding its own subsidies on top of the EU financial support for farmer before Russia announced the import ban on EU foods. That figure was around 21 million euros per year.
Farmers could face difficulties come spring when cultivation work begins. Many have large loans, taken before 2013 in the light of a growing sector and promises of increased EU subsidies.
SEB, the nation's second largest private bank, alone has given out 150 million euros in loans to farmers. Meelis Annus, of Swedbank, said around half of farmers with loans have asked to extend loan repayments and more are expected to do so soon.