Kaspars Gerhards, the Minister: we are calling on the European Commission to introduce urgently the necessary and extraordinary market support and financial support measures
On Monday November 15, in Brussels, Kaspars Gerhards, the Minister for Agriculture, participated in the EU Council of Ministers for Agriculture and Fisheries, where the Ministers discussed the current situation on agricultural market and the European Council (EC) conclusions on the new EU Forest Strategy 2030.
In general, the current situation on agricultural market should be considered as a stable one, excluding trade in pig meat. On the EU internal market, surplus has been created not only due to Covid impact but also because of export complications, facilitated by African swine fever.
Pig meat from other EU Member States is entering Latvian market, mainly from Poland, Belgium and Spain, and purchasing price for pig meat is constantly reducing. Currently, financial situation and solvency of pig producers have reached a critically low level. Since 2020, simultaneously with price reduction, pig producers are facing growing production costs due to increasing prices for feed. In October 2021, the price for wheat increased by 7%. In the last two months, in Latvia, the price for pig meat has fallen to the critical level. Latvia has reached a new absolute anti-record – 95,5 cents per kg that is by 26% lower than the previous year. If the situation becomes worse, there is risk of closure for many pig farms in Latvia.
Kaspars Gerhards, the Minister for Agriculture: “To alleviate financial difficulties of pig producers, Latvia, since the beginning of Covid pandemia has supported pig producers from the State budget. But the crisis is not the problem of some individual States – it is now affecting the entire EU common market and individual measures taken by Member States are not a solution to the satiated EU single market that is the major cause of this critical situation. Therefore, we are asking the European Commission to take steps and implement the necessary urgent market and financial support measures”.
At the meeting, the Ministers of Member States also discussed EC conclusions on the new EU Forest Strategy 2030, published by the European Commission in July 2021. Forestry is extremely significant for economy of Latvia and therefore, it is in the interests of Latvia that the forestry sector also henceforth is contributing considerably to the national economy and social sphere. Undoubtedly, the account must also be taken of the EU common climate and environmental objectives. In general, EC conclusions on the new Forestry Strategy are supported by Latvia but Kaspars Gerhards, the Minister, emphasized that account definitely should be taken of all three sustainability dimensions – economic, social and environmental/climate as well as different situations and singularities in each Member State, different forest management practices, cultural and historic development.
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