High costs, destabilizing markets and climate conditions top EU agriculture ministers’ agenda On Tuesday 25 July, Agriculture Minister Didzis Šmits will take part in the meeting of the EU Council of Ministers for Agriculture and Fisheries (Council) in Brussels, where Spain, as EU Presidency, will present and start working on the priorities of its Presidency. One of the main priorities to be discussed at the meeting remains the situation in the EU agricultural and food market after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which was further exacerbated by devastating drought and heat in many parts of the EU. It has already been reported that the EC has mobilized additional funding for EU farmers and on June 26 announced emergency EU support for agricultural sectors due to economic and climatic conditions in member countries – EU emergency assistance provided to Latvia amounted to 6.8 million euros.
This year is very difficult for the Latvian agriculture and the situation in the Latvian agricultural sectors continues to deteriorate. The economic viability of enterprises in the industry was also negatively affected by the prolonged drought in April-June 2023, which caused irreversible and serious consequences for all sectors of agriculture. The decline in yields is expected to have a negative impact on farm incomes and their ability to cover management costs and liabilities. The low yield of fodder plants significantly increases the cost of fodder preparation. In the spring of this year, Latvian gardeners suffered significantly from spring frosts.
Taking into account the impact of the current unfavorable economic and climatic conditions on the performance of agricultural producers in 2023, the cost of agricultural products in 2023 may decrease by about 30 percent. Thus, Latvia considers that, in addition to the emergency EU support, it is also necessary to be able to apply certain derogations in the Latvian Common Agricultural Policy.
The Council will also discuss a follow-up study by the European Commission (EC) on the impact of the new regulation on the sustainable use of plant protection products (SUP). Latvia considers that the study conducted by the EC did not answer the Council’s question about how the reduction in the use of AAL will affect crop yields in member countries, as well as food prices, imports, exports and forestry. The EC itself also acknowledges that it lacks data on the use of plant protection products in agriculture and forestry. In addition, there are still legitimate concerns that the rapid reduction in the use of AAS will negatively affect the competitiveness of farms in the agricultural market.
Ministry of Agriculture