European Commission approves EUR 35.5 million subsidy to Latvian farmers, fishers and food producers

  • 2020-04-16
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - The European Commission has approved a EUR 35.5 million direct support scheme aimed at mitigating the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on Latvia's agricultural, fisheries and food sector, LETA was told at the EU Commission. 

The European Commission's Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager, who is in charge of competition policies, said that the significant extraordinary measures adopted to protect people's health during the coronavirus outbreak are causing economic tension. However, people still need to buy food, the commissioner said. 

Vestager said that the EUR 35.5 million direct subsidy scheme, which has been approved on Thursday, will support Latvian businesses in agriculture, fisheries, food production, as well as caterers providing food services to schools, and enable them to continue operations in these hard times. 

Vestagere noted that in line with a temporary regulation Latvia informed the European Commission about its support scheme targeting enterprises of various sizes in agriculture, fisheries and the food sector that have been affected by the Covid-19 crisis. The support will be provided as direct subsidies and the scheme's budget is estimated at EUR 35.5 million.

The support scheme is meant to help the struggling companies to cope with liquidity issues, caused by the coronavirus crisis, compensating their losses arising from the slowing of business operations. 

The maximum size of the subsidy has been set at EUR 100,000 for enterprises involved in primary farming activities, at EUR 120,000 for enterprises in fisheries and aquaculture and at EUR 800,000 for companies in the food sector and providers of food services to schools.

As reported, the government on Tuesday agreed to set aside EUR 45.5 million worth of contingency funds in order to ensure uninterrupted farming, forestry and fisheries operations, as well as food production during the Covid-19 emergency.

The Agriculture Ministry stressed that each application for this support money would be closely assessed, ensuring a transparent allocation procedure. The support payments will provided by the Rural Support Service.