The Council of Ministers on Wednesday approved a total of €9 million for the support of animal farmers struggling amid rising grain and feed prices.
Concerns have been growing in recent weeks among farmers and producers as regards the dramatic rise in the cost of grain as a result of weather conditions and the Covid-19 pandemic, which caused various breakdowns in the global food supply chains, including transportation, fuel costs, rising inflation and other disruptions.
“Just as we had assured farmers, and particularly animal farmers, the government will stand by them in these difficult times,” Agriculture Minister Costas Kadis said, echoing his previous statements during a House agriculture committee session last week where he promised that temporary support would come from the ministry for those affected.
According to Kadis, €3.2 million will go to sheep and goat farmers, €2.7 million to pig farmers, €1.7 million to cow farmers, €1.3 million to poultry farmers and €25,000 to rabbit farmers.
Asked when the money will reach these groups, Kadis said that efforts will be made to combine the amount with the subsidies scheduled for sheep and goat farmers before the end of the year.
Payments to the rest of the farmers will be made through the agricultural payments organisation.
“During a meeting yesterday we were assured that they will make every effort to arrange for help to reach the rest of the groups as soon as possible,” Kadis said, adding he hoped this would be possible in the first three months of the year.
Kadis said that the state, alongside farmers’ unions and representatives, will monitor the situation and act accordingly to respond to any changes.
During the same House agriculture committee meeting, Kadis sought to quell fears by telling MPs that there is no shortage in grains at the moment, with October imports expected to cover 140 to 200 per cent of the livestock industry’s needs.
The minister also proposed launching the process of building grain reserves with the aim of traders amassing a stock of four per cent by March.