Former minister queries government action on agricultural drought aid

Former Minister of Agriculture and Deputy Chair of the Parliamentary Agricultural Committee Urmas Kruuse (Reform) has put a question to Prime Minister Jüri Ratas concerning governmental assistance to farmers for dealing with the effects of the long period of drought this summer.

Reiterating comments he had made a little over two weeks ago, Mr. Kruuse said that farmers were dismayed that whilst information had been made public suggesting that the state was to grant €20 million to compensate the sector for drought losses, in actuality, high-interest loans were being offered instead.

Instead of loans, farmers require state assurance for equal conditions with farmers in other EU member states, where an emergency has been declared, Mr. Kruuse added.

"This government has not taken steps to declare a state of emergency in agriculture, despite the serious situation facing farmers dealing with this summer's drought, a force majeure situation,'' he went on.

False impression that aid would be forthcoming

"Farmers are concerned that the government is trying to create the impression that farmers are to receive aid, whereas the actual assistance from the state comes in the form of the refinancing of loans withnew loans, a step which will not help farmers effectively,'' Mr. Kruuse continued.

''It is essential for farmers that the government react seriously to this year's drought, the like of which this region has not seen in about 60 years, and consider providing extraordinary assistance,'' he argued.

Mr. Kruuse also said that there exists great confusion over the date of the payout of the subsidies paid by the Agricultural Registers and Information Centre (PRIA) after the prime minister said at a 2 August press conference that the government also supports early payment of direct aid and is to seek relevant approvals from the European Commission.

Questions that need answering

The estimated losses caused by the drought stand at around 70% of total harvests, and so farmers have stressed the need to restore liquidity, and, according to Mr. Kruuse, need answers to the following questions:

1.Why doesn't the government take the opportunity to provide a form of extraordinary assistance to farmers in a form other than that of a loan?

2. Confirmation that single-area support and support for dairy cattle breeding is to be paid out earlier than planned, ie. 1 October 2018.

Mr. Kruuse also stated that the Parliamentary Rural Affairs Committee has been meeting under an emergency schedule since July to find solutions for preventing anycrisis arising from drought damage.

The summer of 2018 started with the hottest May in over half a century, with little rainfall through to August, and saw fire danger warnings from late May, rising to a period of 'extreme' fire hazard warning in late July. Several larger fires included those at Vikipalu in Harju County, Tori in Pärnu County, and the resort town of Narva-Jõesuu, as well as dozens of smaller fires. The period of fire hazard was declared over on 14 August after a period of rainfall.
If you notice an error, highlight the text you want and press Ctrl + Enter to report it to the editor
I recommend
No recommendations yet


Post your comment to communicate and discuss this article.

Chairman of the Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and one of the owners of construction group Nordecon, Toomas Luman, finds that a prime ministerial candidate should first and foremost be able to answer the question of what will become of the demographic crisis in Estonia. The businessman sees controlled introduction of foreign labor as the solution. A digital construction cluster was created in Estonia a few years back to bring innovation to the s...
Last year saw 27,125 registered offenses, up 0.5 percent from the year before. Violent crime was up by 12 percent to 8,249 offenses. PHOTO: Dominic Lipinski / PA Wire / Press Association Images / Scanpix Growth was biggest for domestic violence – the police launched criminal proceedings in 3,607 cases that constitutes an increase of more than one-third – annual growth of 37 percent from 2,632 cases in 2017. At the same time, reports of domestic violence we...
TALLINN - Ahead of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, tens of thousands of British citizens have chosen the citizenship of some other country, but only one Brit has recently chosen an Estonian citizenship. Spokespeople for the Ministry of the Interior told BNS that only one British citizen submitted an application for Estonian citizenship last year and the applicant was also granted the citizenship. Before that, no Brits had soug...
TALLINN - Experts from Finland, Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands highlighted the importance of decentralization and granting local governments greater decision-making powers at a conference titled "Strong local government -- strong state?" in Tallinn on Wednesday.  All Nordic countries have chosen a model granting local governments significant decision-making powers, thus the central government does not prescribe how local governments are to fulfill the...
The language learning application Drops by game developer Planb Labs, established in Estonia by Hungarian founders, was named Google Play's best app of 2018. With the number of downloads surpassing 10 million, Drops was named Google's app of the year as the revenue of Planb Labs, a company registered in Estonia, increased fivefold, CNBC said. The developer's revenue grew from €335,000 in 2017 to €1.7 million in 2018. The company's shareholders include Hung...
TALLINN - The Estonian Health Board has banned the distribution of chlorine dioxide, also marketed as the Miracle Mineral Supplement (MMS), the A-component of an unused product, meaning the sodium chlorite solution, must be taken to a hazardous waste collection facility. Ester Opik, head of the Health Board's North regional department, said that the banning of the distribution of the product was caused by the fact that MMS, distributed as a cosmetics produ...
Nature cannot abide a vacancy, as the saying goes. If just one year ago, Estonia was battling the sale of MMS and the practice of giving it to children, a new “miracle cure” called Advanced TRS has appeared on the market now. Even though the make-up of the substance is different, the promise to cure autism and cleanse the body of heavy metals, which kind of extreme detox is accompanied by severe side-effects, sounds all too familiar. TRS is recommended to...
Allied NATO battalions will soon mark two years serving in the Baltics. They have worked better than expected but would need prepositioned heavy weaponry and a functional contingency plan in case of a crisis, a report by the International Center for Defense and Security (ICDS) finds. “We do not know how Russia would have acted had we not welcomed allies in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland in 2017. I’m afraid they would have tested our resolve,” one of...
The time of filing income tax returns is nearly upon us. The new income tax system, in effect since last year, will obligate many women who went on maternity leave toward the end of the year to make additional income tax payments, while those who give birth in the middle or at the beginning of the year have no such obligation. What this means is that some women will owe the state simply for giving birth “at the wrong time”. Laura Roop, who went on maternit...