The Slovenia Times

Farmers to get EUR 22m in aid, state to purchase entire wheat harvest

Industry & Agriculture

Ljubljana - Prime Minister Robert Golob announced on Friday that the state would provide more than EUR 22 million in aid to farmers for various purposes. The state will purchase through the Agency for Commodity Reserves this year's entire harvest of wheat in Slovenia to provide a "clear buyer and stable price" to farmers.

"Unfortunately, the situation in the world, especially in Ukraine, is getting worse on a daily basis, which is evident not only in prices, but also in the availability of food," Golob noted at a press conference after the government session.

On the one hand, he deliberated on how to help farmers so that the increased costs of fuel, fertilisers and other materials will have as little impact on their costs and, consequently, on food prices.

"On the other hand, we dealt with how to establish effective control of prices, that is retail prices for consumers," the prime minister added.

The state will allocate slightly more than EUR 22 million to farmers for various purposes, he said, listing aid for milk producers, fuel subsidies and subsidies for the purchase of reproductive material and fertilisers.

At the same time, the government will purchase the entire harvest of wheat in Slovenia through the Agency for Commodity Reserves, Golob announced.

"We want to help farmers by relieving them of costs, and at the same time we want to keep this crop entirely in Slovenia," he said.

The prime minister noted that the state wanted to provide farmers with a "clear single buyer and a stable price" so that "they know what price they can sell at", expressing the belief that the price will be slightly lower as a result.

Golob said that the plan for Slovenia to enter the autumn with larger commodity reserves than usual, "because we are not facing a completely normal winter and it is right for us to prepare for that".

He noted that major traders around the world were already speculatively buying mainly wheat for stock, and that some countries, including Switzerland, had already taken such a measure.

"We prefer to buy all wheat directly from farmers, rather than buying it from retailers in the autumn, and be charged significantly more for it," he said, announcing direct negotiations with wheat growers in the coming weeks.

The Agriculture Ministry has prepared in cooperation with the Chamber of Commerce a list of 15 products whose prices will be monitored on a regular basis.

"It is not regulation, because the prices will not be determined by the government, but by retailers, while the government will make sure that the prices are comparable and publicly known," Golob said.

He added that the quality of these products would also be monitored and a system for comparison of prices in the neighbouring countries would be introduced, with the aim of making Slovenian consumers aware of what the real market price was.

Agriculture Minister Irena Šinko said that the state would earmark EUR 5.2 million in aid for the milk sector. This aid will go for around 4,000 farms, or around 80,000 to 85,000 milking cows, and is expected to be paid by September.

Around EUR 2.2 million will go for measures related to motor fuel, which is expected to be paid out by the autumn sowing. "Farmers will get reimbursed excise duties in the amount of EUR 0.2 per litre in a two-month period," Šinko said.

The government plans to pay out the largest part of the aid, EUR 15 million in aid in the form of reproductive material, by the autumn sowing. The amount will be higher for arable land, where more fertilisers are needed, and lower for grasslands.

As for the purchase of wheat, the minister said that the price offered by primary farmers was EUR 400 per tonne.

"However, the state helps with various measures in the amount of around EUR 22 million, so I expect that there will be negotiations and that we will arrive at a mutually acceptable price," Šinko added.

It was the cereals sales commission, which brings together representatives of wheat growers, the Farmers' Trade Union, the Chamber of Agriculture and Forestry and the Slovenian Cooperatives Association, that proposed last month that the state purchase the entire wheat harvest and then sell it on to millers during the year.

They said the country will grow 100,000 tonnes of wheat suitable for food in 2022, and proposed that for farmers not to sell below cost, a tonne of the lowest quality wheat should be at least EUR 330 and a tonne of best wheat EUR 410.


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