RIGA - The budget proposal Latvian farmers have received from the Agriculture Ministry suggests that the European Union's (EU) direct payments to farmers in the next programming period will be cut by 20 percent from the current amount, Juris Lazdins, chairman of the farmers' association Zemnieku Saeima (Farmers' Assembly), said in an interview with Latvian Television on Friday.
In his words, the EU's next programming period is going to be tough for Latvia's farmers.
Lazdins said that, according to the EU's draft Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), farmers' obligations will increase, while funding will drop. This creates a discrepancy between what the EU would like to implement and what farmers can possibly do.
The leader of Zemnieku Saeima projected that the new requirements would mostly affect the bloc's new member states.
In Lazdins' words, Agriculture Minister Kaspars Gerhards (National Alliance) "theoretically defends" the Latvian farmers' interests.
Today, Zemnieku Saeima is holding its congress in Bulduri, Jurmala, with the EU's new CAP, subsidy caps and the overall development of agriculture in Latvia featuring high on the forum's agenda.