This week, the Latvian government approved the arrangements for the support granted to farmers in 2024. According to the regulations prepared by the Ministry of Agriculture, farmers will be able to receive 8.7 million euros in state subsidies this year, and another 20.4 million euros will be available as state support for breeding work with livestock. However, farmers who purchased raw materials from Russia and Belarus after January 1, 2024 will not be able to apply for this support.
“Currently, we have already included such a norm in two regulations of the Cabinet of Ministers, and in the future, such a norm will be included in all regulations regarding state aid,” said Agriculture Minister Armands Krauze (Union of Greens and Farmers).
Minister Krauze is convinced that the absolute majority of Latvian farmers have already refused suppliers from the aggressor countries.
“I think there are very few of them left, but considering the position of our country, we very firmly said that even with the little that is left, we don’t want them,” Krause explained.
The Rural Support Service will check whether the beneficiaries really comply with this requirement on a random basis. Farmers will also have to be careful when buying raw materials from other European countries, as there is a risk that products originating in Russia and Belarus enter through devious routes.
The largest farmers’ organizations support such a restriction, and the Zemnieku saeima itself has offered the ministry to introduce one.
“This state support should not be provided to those entrepreneurs who continue to use grain, fodder and other types of production from Russia and Belarus, said Mārtiņs Tron, representative of the association “Zemnieku Saeima”.
“I have called several times the farmers who buy fodder, where grain from Russia and Belarus could appear,” said Guntis Gūtmanis, chairman of the Cooperation Council of Agricultural Organizations. “Not a single farmer has told me that he would have willingly bought Russian grain. Although they say it would be beneficial because it is cheaper, we don’t buy because we don’t support it.”
Therefore, farmers call on the government to go further and apply similar requirements to other sectors as well. Namely, any entrepreneur who starts in state or local government procurement or wants to receive some kind of support should set the criterion of not cooperating with aggressor countries.
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