RIGA - The Agricultural Ministry announced that it would allocate 1 million lats (1.4 million euros) to offset losses caused by swarms of gnats and massive flooding that left the eastern region of Latgale and part of Vidzeme devastated, the Leta news agency reported June 27.
The proposal was sent on to the agricultural organization cooperation council and will be considered by Parliament for adoption before resources are allocated. The money is expected to come from funds already planned for national subsidies this year.
Earlier this month, Agriculture Minister Martins Roze said he planned to appeal to the European Commission to use national subsidies to compensate farmers who suffered as a result of the flooding and insect attacks.
Torrential rains in May brought massive flooding and considerable damage to the Latgale countryside, causing the government to declare a state of emergency in the Daugavpils, Preili and Livani districts. The extent of the damage was partly due to an especially high water level, left over from early spring rains.
Local roads sustained tens of thousands of lats in damage, and hectares of crops were harmed 's 27,000 in total, according to official estimates. What's more, the water-logged land soon became fertile ground for huge swarms of gnats.
The gnats descended on cattle in the eastern part of the country 's Latvia's poorest 's killing over 500 within five days. The region of Preili reportedly suffered the greatest loss of livestock. Farmers said that, if they had been provided more information in time, they could have saved their cattle. It was only after the attacks that the government advised farmers to keep their livestock inside.
Some 300,000 lats will be allocated to farmers who lost their cattle to offset the economic damage. Those whose crops were destroyed by flooding could receive an estimated 700,000 lats in funding.