The governments of the European Union’s main agricultural economies have rolled out supports in recent weeks to mitigate the impact of the war in Ukraine on their farmers.
Earlier this month, French Minister of Agriculture Julien Denormandie announced a fund of €400m to support French farmers to cover “additional feed costs.”
The fund will run for an initial four months, with the first payments to be made to farmers by May.
The French minister also announced a discount on green diesel of 15c/l excluding tax and committed to an earlier refund of the 2021 domestic consumption tax on tractor fuel, along with a 25% discount for 2022.
For farmers whose gas and electricity expenses represent at least 3% of farm expenses, and which would become loss-making in 2022 due to the increase in these energy costs, the French government will cover half the additional cost incurred.
The French are also working on developing a “fertiliser security plan” for autumn 2022 and long-term, a “nitrogen sovereignty plan”.
The minister has established a working group to secure imported raw materials and to drive the production of fertiliser, including organic products, on French soil.
Following protests where some 150,000 farmers ground Madrid to a halt due to the impact of war and drought, the Spanish Minister for Agriculture Luis Planas announced a “new law on the food chain, which enshrines a new model of trade relations” for farmers with processors and retailers.
Planas has also clarified what Spanish farmers will “directly” receive €64.5m of the European Commission’s €500m package for EU farmers, the second highest amount received by any country.
Spanish farmers can now avail of a 20% reduction in personal income tax, a measure estimated to benefit 918,000 farmers
Six Spanish ministries have also collaborated to introduce a “royal decree-law” with a further €450m package to support farmers and ensure food security.
Spanish farmers can now avail of a 20% reduction in personal income tax, a measure estimated to benefit 918,000 farmers. On farmers’ farm labour costs, there is now a deferral of social security payments. Reduced irrigation fees have also been rolled out.
In early March, German Minister for Agriculture Cem Özdemir declared that over 1m hectares of farmland under non-productive greening land will be allowed to enter production in Germany.
However, this step still requires the approval of Germany’s federal states.
They will meet this week to discuss the measure at the conference of agriculture ministers.
Özdemir also presented the agriculture and food budget in the Bundestag on Thursday.
In addition to his department’s regular budget a fund of €180m, a third of which will come from the Commission’s €500m package, will go to mitigating the war’s impact on farmers. He has not yet clarified how the funds will be used.