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Additional millions for rural development is a joke; small farms to disappear

 RIGA, Feb 9 - Even though Latvia will receive an additional EUR 67 million (LVL 47 million) for rural development during the European Union's next budget period, farmers are not satisfied, as this is just a ''drop in the ocean'', the leaders of Latvian agricultural organization told the business information portal ''Nozare.lv''.

''We have achieved some sort of result, but there is not satisfaction. We could have achieved such a result by staying home and taking a nap, as the demands made by farmers will only be reached in 2020,'' said Agricultural Organizations' Cooperation Council Deputy Chairman Armands Krauze.

Meanwhile, Latvian Farming Cooperative Association's board chairman Indulis Jansons said that the new EU budget will stimulate the disappearance of small farms.

''With the current competition, this is just a drop in the ocean. This means the liquidation of small farms, as they will not be able to develop with the current support. It will be easier for larger farms, however, the support they will receive is also insignificant - they might be able to buy one tractor during the budget period. Basically, young people will continue to leave rural areas, this is clear,'' Jansons said.

As reported, during the next planning period, Latvia will receive extra EUR 67 million (LVL 47 million) for rural development needs, according to yesterday's EU budget deal.
It was previously mentioned that Latvia could receive additional EUR 60 million (LVL 42 million) for rural development programs. Extra EUR 7 million was most likely allotted due to the country's EU budget veto threat, according to unofficial information.

The deal envisages that Latvia will be able to channel the extra funds to direct payments.

The ceiling on cohesion funding for Latvia will be 2.59 percent of gross domestic product, or EUR 4.2 billion (LVL 2.95 billion), and direct area payments to Latvian farmers will increase to EUR 196 (LVL 138), or approximately 80 percent of the EU average, by 2020.
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