In a letter to the chair of the European Council of farm ministers, Norbert Lins, chair of the European Parliament’s agricultural committee, has asked that agri-inputs such as feed and fertiliser be given a similar status as foodstuffs and livestock at borders.
The committee highlighted the difficulties farmers are experiencing, not only carrying out their daily work, but also accessing inputs and delivering products to European consumers, Lins said.
To contain the spread of COVID-19, some EU countries have reintroduced border controls, with others closing their borders completely. To minimise disruption to supply chains, the Commission designated special status to food and livestock to pass borders via “green corridors”.
Lins said feed, fertiliser, plant protection products, and other agri-food sector materials must also be allowed to pass borders to ensure farms can continue to operate.
Tomorrow, agricultural ministers from across Europe will meet by video to discuss the impact the coronavirus outbreak has had on agriculture. It will be an opportunity for ministers to outline specific measures they feel are necessary to support the sector through the crisis.
German MEP Lins asked that the Commission make allowances for farmers when it came to red tape. He said preparations needed to be made for difficulties that may occur in the timing of CAP payments and in farm inspections.
“The overall aim must be … to simplify procedures as much as possible while granting maximum flexibility to Member States and allowing general derogations in the implementation of CAP measures until 31 December 2020, in order to protect European agriculture and rural areas.”
Lins also highlighted how the economic sustainability of some products was jeopardised by the closure of the hospitality, restaurant and catering sectors. He said the removal of these products for a limited time through special aid for private storage would help stabilise market prices.
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