Minister: Estonia not planning on declaring drought emergency

Dried-out fields are rampant in Estonia as unusually hot and dry conditions persist.
Dried-out fields are rampant in Estonia as unusually hot and dry conditions persist. Source: Olev Kenk/ERR

While the Ministry of Rural Affairs is set to make various aid measures available to farmers due to an extended period of hot and dry weather, there is no plan to declare a drought emergency in Estonia.

Minister of Rural Affairs Tarmo Tamm (Centre) said in a press release on Friday that the Emergency Act does not allow for the declaring of a state of emergency in connection with drought.

"This does not mean, however, that we will not come to farmers' aid on this subject," he explained. "We are preparing an appeal to the banks and the buyers of agricultural products, calling on them to take a sensible approach to farmers' ability to meet their obligations in connection with the drought."

In addition, he continued, the ministry has informed the sector that when the requirements of a support measure are not met due to the drought, the Estonian Agricultural Registers and Information Board (PRIA) should be notified. "In accordance with the rules of support, PRIA can handle this as an emergency or a force majeure, and the support will not be reclaimed under such circumstnaces," Tamm said.

The minister noted that Northern, Central and Southern Europe alike are experiencing drought-related issues this year.

He also said that the problems being experienced this year can be alleviated in part with direct farm support, the amounts of which are increasing.

"Compared to last year, direct support will increase by approximately €10 million this year, and we will pay out altogether €133.94 million in direct support," Tamm said. "In addition, the government will continue fulfilling its promise and will pay out the full amount of transitional allowance, €18.4 million, from the state budget this year as well."

According to Tamm, the ministry has envisaged in the Rural Development Plan an agricultural insurance support which will enable, among othr things, the compensation of farmers for insurance premiums on crop insurance.

In early July, Lithuania declared a nationwide state of emergency due to a prolonged drought that has affected farmers. A week earlier, Latvia declared a "natural disaster of a national scale."

Editor: Aili Vahtla

Source: BNS

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