The European Union’s executive branch has proposed a 500-million-euro aid package to help food producers in the 27-nation bloc in the wake of the economic impact of the war in Ukraine.
Fertilizer prices had risen sharply before the war began last month. EU officials are concerned that the war will push up energy prices and put more pressure on farmers, further affecting fertilizer costs.
The European Commission has said that the proposed aid will be distributed in the national allocation. The commission’s plan would allow EU countries to supplement the bloc’s support by up to 200% through their own contributions, which could generate an additional 1 billion euros.
To increase agricultural productivity within the EU, the commission has proposed temporarily allowing cultivation of any crop for food and nourishment in fallow lands, where farmers have maintained full-fledged greening payments.
“The EU is an agricultural power, and we will ensure that our farmers have the full support of the Commission in meeting the global demand for food,” said Agriculture Commissioner Janus Ozczykowski. “We will do this while working to make our food supply chains more resilient and sustainable for future crises.”
Although the EU does not face an immediate food shortage, the region is a net importer of certain products, including food grains, from Ukraine. And European farmers rely heavily on Russian fertilizers to grow their crops.
The commission said in its proposal that “with high input costs such as fertilizers and fossil fuels, these vulnerabilities pose production challenges and risks to food prices for farmers.”
The িয়ন 500 million aid will come from the 2022 budget reserve, which was included in a major crisis in the agricultural sector. The European Parliament and the European Council, made up of the leaders of the EU member states, must agree to transfer funds in order to implement the package.
Among other measures to help farmers, the commission has proposed a support program for the pork industry and temporary state assistance of up to 35,000 euros for companies in the agricultural and fisheries sectors.
In parallel, the commission said it was deeply concerned about the dire food situation in the besieged cities of Ukraine. The bloc has drawn up a 30 330 million aid plan to help the war-torn country, whose upcoming crops are under threat and whose food stocks are at risk as a result of the Russian invasion.
“We will continue to provide humanitarian assistance to the Ukrainians to alleviate their suffering, especially by ensuring their access to basic food products and services. At the same time, we need to avoid any export sanctions to cover food prices, “said Valdis Dombrovskis, the commission’s executive vice president.