The Slovenia Times

To lower food prices, Slovenian farmers can count on EUR 5m

Industry & Agriculture

Brussels - EU member states will try to cushion food inflation by providing financial aid to farmers. Slovenia will have EUR 5.1 million at its disposal, of which EUR 1.7 million in EU funds, outgoing Agriculture Minister Jože Podgoršek said on Tuesday. He will however let the new minister take the final decisions.

The European Commission has released EUR 500 million in reserves to help farmers that have been most severely hit by the Ukraine crisis, with EUR 1.7 million available to Slovenia.

Since Slovenia can add 200% in own funds to the sum, Slovenian farmers could have around EUR 5.1 million at their disposal, said the minister.

Podgoršek, who attended his last session of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council in Brussels, said that food inflation is estimated at almost 9%.

For the funds to be paid out by the 30 September deadline, he will organise a meeting with stakeholders to draft a proposal which sectors could receive the funds.

The proposal will then be handed to the new minister - the candidate is Irena Šinko - as Podgoršek hands the portfolio over, because the decision will have to be taken very quickly to meet the deadline.

Podgoršek also intends to leave to his successor a decision on re-distributing the unused money from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.

Under a Commission proposal, member states will have a chance to earmark up to 5% of the money for 2021-2022 from this fund as a one-off payment to farmers and small and medium-sized companies processing, selling or development agricultural products. A farm will be entitled to up to EUR 15,000 and a company up to EUR 100,000.

At today's session, the Commission also outlined the situation on agricultural markets in light of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Podgoršek said the biggest problem was transport routes for exports; Ukraine has some 40 million tonnes of wheat and should export at least 20 million tonnes by the summer.

He thus supported the Commission's proposal to set up "solidarity routes" to enable wheat exports along other routes than the usual ones by sea, which are blocked.

This year's harvest in Ukraine is expected to be 20-40% lower, which could have a major impact on food safety. "But in Europe, the outlook for this season is quite favourable for now, so one part could be compensated for by European production and by some measures to increase the area for cereal production," he explained.


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