Representatives of agricultural producers sent a letter to Minister of Rural Affairs Arvo Aller (EKRE), asking for €24 million in support to the sector to compensate for losses stemming from the coronavirus pandemic.
Kerli Alts, head of the Estonian Farmers' Federation (Eestimaa Talupidajate Keskliit), wrote: "The present economic crisis has not left the agricultural sector and its markets untouched, the negative effects have shown in dairy, beef, pig and sheep farming, the horticulture sector and also in potato and grain farming. In the developing market situation, the income from produce marketing does not cover the expenses made for production. The low market price has created a deficit and has considerably decreased incomes in dairy farming."
Roomet Sõrmus, head of the Estonian Chamber of Agriculture and Commerce, said: "As is the case of agricultural producers in other countries, the source of problems for Estonian entrepreneurs has become the market price, marketing difficulties and the lack of workforce stemming from travel restrictions, leading to a loss in produce."
Sõrmus continued: "It is important to remember that Estonian producers are competing with other European Union member state producers, with our neighbors especially. Latvia, an important competitor for us, has supported its agriculture, fisheries and food production with the support received from the European Union in the form of two packages totalling up to €37 million. Latvian dairy producers received €86 for each dairy cow and €137 for each head of beef cattle."
Sõrmus said Lithuania has received a permit to support the sectors of agriculture on five separate occasions since the coronavirus pandemic began in spring. Lithuania's total state support for agriculture, food, forestry, fishery and the rural sector will total €189 million with dairy making up €38 million alone.
The letter is signed by three national agricultural representative organizations: The Estonian Farmers' Federation, the Estonian Chamber of Agriculture and Commerce and the Estonian Young Farmers.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste