Europe mobilizes to help farmers

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The European Commission is releasing €500 million in aid to farmers affected by the cost crisis and the impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

According to Spanish Agriculture Minister Luis Planas, Spanish farmers will receive 64.5 million euros in EU aid, which will be paid directly to companies. There is also a massive €450 million package from the Spanish government to support farmers and ensure food security. Nearly one million Spanish farmers will get a 20% cut in income tax and farm labor costs will see a deferral of social security payments. There will also be a reduction in irrigation fees for farms.

French farmers are set to receive 400 million euros in aid from their own government to cover additional feed costs. The first payments are expected to be made in May and continue for four months. There is also a state-paid rebate on diesel of 15 euro cents per litre, as well as a refund of domestic consumption tax on tractor fuel for last year and a 25% reduction for This year.

In addition, France has put in place a fertilizer security plan for the fall of 2022 and a longer-term “nitrogen sovereignty plan” to mitigate supply uncertainty. There is also financial assistance for companies that use significant amounts of electricity in their food production.

Read more: Will the import imbalance at the EU-UK border continue?

Ireland received €16m from EU coffers for its farmers, with the option for its own government to increase that budget by up to 200%, a pot of €48m. Ireland has so far allowed its farmers to farm on set-aside land and is offering additional payments of up to €400 per hectare to herders to grow crops.

German Agriculture Minister Cen Özdemir has said he wants to release one million hectares from greening obligations to allow for increased food production. There will also be additional funding of €180 million for farmers from the EU’s €500 million pot.

In a speech to the German parliament, Mr Özdemir said: “We are currently experiencing this situation in a painful way – food and agricultural policy is also a security policy. If we want to become independent from Putin, we need consistent steps towards more crisis-proof sustainable agriculture.

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