M. Kučinskis: It is important for Latvia to save agriculture in the Latgale region
On Thursday 5 October, Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis held a meeting with Phil Hogan, the EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development in Rīga.
During the meeting, M. Kučinskis pointed out that Latvia’s interests would be best served by a strong European Union (EU), including the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) with adequate funding.
The EU’s support for rural development is essential for Latvia. It would allow for further development of rural areas, which currently substantially lag behind the average level of rural development in the EU. The rural areas, especially in the vicinity of the EU's external borders, are the issue of security for both Latvia and the EU as a whole.
Although in the current programming period Latvia receives increased CAP funding, our total CAP funding is still the lowest among the EU Member States. The Prime Minister stressed that the Latvian farmers expect equalizing of the funding to ensure that the farmers in all EU Member States are provided with equal conditions of competitiveness. When determining the direct payment envelopes, the updated reference indicators on the area of agricultural land should be used. The area of land used in agriculture is increasing faster in Latvia than in most other EU Member States.
The officials were of the opinion that the direct payments to farmers in the EU should finally be well-balanced, and the agricultural policy needs to be adequately funded.
During the meeting, the officials highlighted the issue of damages to the Latvian farmers caused by floods. The emergency situation has been announced in 29 counties of Latvia due to rain. The government and the Saeima have adopted a number of decisions to tackle the effects of flood. "In recent years, the Latgale region has succeeded in improving the economic situation thanks to agriculture, therefore it is important that this region is supported to save the agriculture," said M. Kučinskis. The Prime Minister also signed a letter addressed to the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Junker, calling for the support to Latvia on this matter.
It has been established that at least 76.9 thousand hectares of flooded unthreshed cereal-growing land and more than 13 thousand tons of hay have been destroyed. The estimated losses for the Latvian farmers amount to EUR 37.3 million. The rain has also caused significant damage to the amelioration systems of national importance.
Photos available here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsm6vKV74
Press Secretary to the Prime Minister