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The Minister of Rural Affairs Tarmo Tamm replied to the interpellation concerning the measures to address drought damages (No. 448), submitted by members of the Riigikogu Henn Põlluaas, Mart Helme, Uno Kaskpeit, Peeter Ernits, Jaak Madison, Raivo Põldaru, Arno Sild and Martin Helme.

The interpellators referred to the fact that the Government had allocated 20 million euro as a repayable loan to mitigate the damages caused by an exceptionally dry summer, but according to the data of the Estonian Chamber of Agriculture and Commerce, the damage to the agricultural sector amounted to 150 million euro. The interpellators wished to know what measures the Ministry of Rural Affairs had proposed to mitigate the damages and how effective they were in the ministry’s estimation.

Tarmo Tamm said that the Government had acted efficiently. “The Government’s decision to increase the endowment of the Rural Development Foundation by 20 million euro will create a better and faster opportunity for agricultural undertakings to access capital in order to solve the problems that have arisen from the deficit of circulating capital.” Tamm said that the ministry had also made a proposal to the European Commission to pay extraordinary aid to compensate for drought damages.

In addition, the Ministry of Rural Affairs is planning to extend the term for submission of the expense receipts of the investment aid to agricultural undertakings. The Minister said that the Estonian Agricultural Registers and Information Board would take into account the drought as an exceptional circumstance when checking compliance with the rules for support measures. As a new initiative, the insurance support measure will be developed as part of the rural development plan. “The budget of the measure for 2019–2020 will total two million euro, and the activity supported will be reimbursement of the insurance premium to the extent of 70 per cent. The damages compensated are loss caused by adverse climatic events, an animal or plant disease, a pest infestation, an environmental incident, or measures adopted to eradicate or contain a plant disease or pest,” Tamm listed.

The minister noted that, this year, direct agricultural support payments would increase by ten million euro to 133 million euro, and the Government would also continue to pay transitional aids, so that agricultural producers would receive transitional aid to the extent of a total of 18 million euro this year.

During the open microphone, Märt Sults, Peeter Ernits and Jaanus Marrandi took the floor.

Verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian).

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