Today, the Rural Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) discussed the possible solutions to the problems caused by the long drought with the representatives of agricultural organisations at the Estonian Crop Research Institute in Jõgeva.
The Committee found that the Rural Development Foundation should apply for 20 million euro from the state budget that would serve as a security for farmers in case of possible loan claims of the banks. Also, earlier payment of subsidies to farmers should be discussed with the Estonian Agricultural Registers and Information Board.
“Finding of resources to the Rural Development Foundation so that they could grant additional loans to the farmers would certainly be the most important solution by the state,” said the Chairman of the Committee Aivar Kokk. He added that generally the subsidies of the Estonian Agricultural Registers and Information Board were paid out in December, but this year the farmers would need them already in September.
Deputy Chairman of the Committee Urmas Kruuse said that the farmers were considering selling of their cattle because there was not enough fodder, they did not have sufficient circulating capital and the crop yield was considerably lower than in previous years. “In autumn, it is necessary to discuss in the parliament whether, besides allocating additional resources, it is also possible to change anything in our legislative space,” Kruuse said.
Minister of Rural Affairs Tarmo Tamm said in his report that, depending on the region, 30–70% of this year’s summer crops yield could fail. According to the Minister, the European Commission is not planning extraordinary support payments at the moment. However, in Tamm’s opinion it is possible to increase the capital and reserves of the Rural Development Foundation, and to use it for granting operating loans to the farmers.
The Rural Affairs Committee will meet again in Jõgeva on 14 August to discuss if resources have been found for increasing the capital and reserves of the Rural Development Foundation and whether the Estonian Agricultural Registers and Information Board is ready to make payments to the farmers earlier.
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