The Rural Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) discussed the situation of agriculture following the drought damages at its extraordinary sitting. According to the representatives of farmers, the cold spring and the long period without rain have affected the horticultural, crop cultivation and livestock sectors. The current warm weather and rain will not mitigate the existing situation because the damage has already been done.
Chairman of the Rural Affairs Committee Urmas Kruuse pointed out that the long drought period had caused many problems. In order to implement national assistance measures, it is necessary to assess the extent of damage caused to the farmers and on this basis, make a decision on support measures. “It is important to give the farmers confidence regarding the compensation of damages in their economic activities through the EU support measure and the possible national assistance added to it,” Kruuse said.
Deputy Chairman of the Rural Affairs Committee Rene Kokk considers it necessary that the Government should give clear guidelines to the Tax and Customs Board and negotiate with financial institutions about extending the payment period of taxes, grant interest relief on tax payments for a certain period and facilitate loan terms. “If the Government decides that currently there is a crisis in the sector, and there clearly is in the agriculture sector, then it is a clear guideline for these agencies and a message to the sector that the state has recognised the nature of the problem,” Kokk said.
It was agreed at the Committee sitting that in order to ensure the sustainability of agriculture, it is necessary to add the state assistance to the aid package provided by the European Union.
Minister of Regional Affairs Madis Kallas and representatives of the Estonian Chamber of Agriculture and Commerce and the Estonian Farmers’ Federation participated in the sitting of the Rural Affairs Committee.
Minister of Regional Affairs Madis Kallas agreed that it was necessary to support the sector and he hopes that explanations about potential measures will come in August.