Estonia to allocate EUR 20 mln to help farmers with drought damage

The Estonian government decided to allocate 20 mln euros to the Rural Development Foundation (MES) to cover for drought damage and the foundation will likely offer working capital loans to farmers, informs LETA/BNS.

“The agricultural sector has clearly been a priority for the present government coalition,” Prime Minister Juri Ratas said. “The government Cabinet deemed it necessary to allocate 20 mln euros to MES from the government reserve fund to alleviate the damage caused by drought,” he added.

According to Ratas, the rural affairs minister will soon ask the Finance Ministry to allocate 20 mln euros to MES, after which it will be discussed in the government. “The government also supports a faster payment of direct support and will request the necessary permissions from the European Commission,” the head of government said.

“Such an operative and fast decision shows that when farmers are facing tough times, the government Cabinet acts quickly and operatively,” Ratas said.

On Thursday morning the Estonian Chamber of Agriculture and Commerce said that it plans to offer farmers working capital loans through MES to alleviate drought damage and wants the loan sum to total 20 mln euros.

The idea of working capital loans was proposed by Rural Affairs Minister Tarmo Tamm at an extraordinary meeting of the parliamentary rural affairs committee at the beginning of this week.

Last week the Ministry of Rural Affairs sent a request to banks and buyers to be understanding of the situation of farmers due to the weather conditions.

This spring and summer have been especially dry and warm. According to the Estonian Weather Service, the average precipitation in May was nearly 60% smaller compared to the long-term average. The average temperature was also higher than usual and there were up to 48% of days with sunshine than usual.

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