On Tuesday, May 30, the Minister for Agriculture, Didzis Šmits participated in the meeting of the Council (Council) of Ministers for Agriculture and Fisheries of the European Union in Brussels where Member States shared information on the situation in their countries, regarding agricultural and food market and exchanged views on the impact on agriculture and food production in Europe of Russia's aggressive invasion of Ukraine.
The European Commission (EC) is currently working on a proposal to support both Ukrainian border countries, suffering from increased imports of Ukrainian agricultural products as a result of Russian military aggression and other Member States, facing different climatic, geopolitical or other conditions. The Minister emphasized in the Council that the EC should play a much more active role in tackling the situation on the European agricultural and food market, offering its solutions and not leaving it to the Member States alone to mitigate the difficulties caused by Ukrainian imports. In order to address the situation effectively and quickly, avoiding unequal competition on the EU internal market, the EC needs to carry out an up-to-date and in-depth analysis of the impact of Ukrainian imports on agricultural and food production in EU Member States.
Dairy farming continues to face serious difficulties in Latvia, and the viability of dairy producers is threatened by a sharp drop in the milk purchase price in the first months of the year.
“Decisions addressing the crisis situation need to be taken at a much faster pace than is currently the case, when we have been waiting half a year for an answer on emergency support from the European Union Agricultural Reserve Fund for Latvian dairy farming,” Didzis Šmits says. “Under no circumstances should the aid be based on direct payments, where countries with a bigger crisis and lower direct payments (as in Latvia and Lithuania) would receive less support in total than countries not facing an acute crisis.”
It is expected that Latvia's grain sector could also face difficulties in the second half of this year. Grain and rapeseed purchase prices have fallen significantly and will not cover investments made for 2023 harvest at the high 2022 production resource prices.