Latvian farmers dissatisfied with European Commission budget proposal

Latvian farmers organization’s Framers Parliament (ZSA) Vice Chairwomen Maira Dzelzkaleja expressed Latvian farmers dissatisfaction with European Commission budget proposal for next planning period 2013-2020. Current budget proposal is conflicting with the European Union (EU) Financial Programming and Budget Commissioner Janusz Lewandowski promises, discussions in EU Agriculture Committee about Notification of Albert Deβ on CAP perspective in 2020 and agreement of developing methodology to develop fair system of direct payments.

Ms. Dzelzkaleja explains, that Latvian farmers are able only exist in common EU market and it is mainly based on workers salary economy and minimizing soil improvement and melioration. Additional transitional period to equalize direct payments among all EU member states could be death-sentence for many Latvian farmers. It would increase current tendency of under population in Latvian regions and dependency on imported food products.

Farmers Parliament draws attention to the fact that proportion of rural support and direct payments are different in EU member states. In some countries (for example, Denmark) envelope of total support to agriculture sector is divided ~ 95% for direct payments and ~5% for rural development measures. In Latvia this proportion is correspondingly ~35% and ~65%. Procedure for receiving support under the rural development part is more complicated and longer than for direct payments. Latvian farmers are in worse situation in comparison with others „old” EU member state farmers, who receiving more in direct support have more free capital to use for the currently most needed purpose for investments, for example – for buying land.

Ms. Dzelzkaleja reminds of earlier defined Latvian official and farmers position that the level of direct support for all EU member states must be from70 to 80% of average EU level and that the additional transitional period should not exceed two years.

Farmers Parliament is the strongest non-governmental organization of commercial farmers in Latvia. It is an association of market oriented agricultural producers who are united by their determination to keep abreast of the developments in the national and EU agriculture sector.

Farmers Parliament was founded in 1999 with a membership of 150 who were staking their future in agricultural production and wanted to ensure that they were able to be competitive in the future.

Currently the membership consists of 852 farms and rural SMEs which represent all areas of rural production, cultivate approximately 422 348 ha. 33% of members specialize in animal husbandry, 24% in crop farming and 17% in other types of agricultural production. They produce 46 % of grain and 54% of rapeseed of the total Latvian production. They employ 3807 people in their enterprises/farms.