Lithuanian dairy farmers ‘deserve bigger share of EU support’ – minister

DELFI / Andrius Ufartas

Lithuania would like to get a bigger percentage of the European Union‘s support for dairy farmers than its share in total milk production, according to the country’s agriculture minister.

Virginija Baltraitienė said on Thursday that Lithuanian farmers had been more affected by Russia’s embargo on EU food imports and should therefore receive more support.

“Our goal is to secure and prove that support must not be distributed strictly according to production percentage. Say, if we [Lithuanian farmers] produce one percent [of EU dairy production], this should not mean that we only get one percent from the support package,” said Baltraitienė who met EU’s Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan on Wednesday.

“I believe we have succeeded in proving that we need more support, since Lithuania and the other Baltic states have been hit harder by the Russia’s embargo,” she said. “The commissioner [Hogan] said he understood it and would take it into account.”

Baltraitienė added that farmers who are members of cooperatives should expect more support.

According to estimates, Lithuanian dairy farmers need €75 million to stay afloat in the midst of plummeting milk prices.

Moreover, Lithuania will supplement the EU’s support from the national budget, according to Baltraitienė.

The size of the EU support to European farmers is expected to be announced on Monday when the council of EU agriculture and fishery ministers will present the new support package.

Lithuanian farmers received €18 million in national support in early June, in addition to €17.2 million in payments they received in June-July.

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