Government calls on regions to help with drought actions

The Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Luis Planas, has asked the autonomous communities to transfer precise information to the ministry to find out the scope of the crops and the areas most affected by the drought with which to determine how the distribution of direct aid to farmers contemplated in the royal decree-law approved by the Council of Ministers on May 11.

The minister recalled that this royal decree-law contains a powerful package of urgent support measures for the agricultural sector to deal with the prolonged drought situation and the economic consequences of the war in Ukraine, with a value of more than 784 million euro between direct aid (more than 636 million) and tax, financial and socio-labour.

At the meeting of the Agrarian Policy Advisory Council for Community Affairs, which he chaired by videoconference, Luis Planas explained more details to the regional councillors about the decree and the measures that the Government defends in the European Union.

Thus, the minister has specified that in order to design the support measures, as has already been surveyed with the autonomous communities and the sector itself, two fundamental aspects have been taken into account: the sectoral impact due to the dependence on the availability of pastures and fodder with the extensive and semi-extensive sectors strongly affected, as well as the information on rainfall from the State Meteorological Agency (AEMET) in the areas with the highest incidence of drought.

In the case of livestock, whose aid amounts to 355 million euro, three areas with high, medium and moderate affection have been determined, and to establish the amounts, the additional costs involved in the purchase of concentrates and fodder in the extensive systems during drought episodes due to lack of pasture.

The Spanish Agrarian Guarantee Fund (FEGA), the body that will process the aid, has asked the autonomous communities for information on the animals determined in the aid coupled to the Common Agrarian Policy (PAC) in 2022 to determine the final amount of the aid by species and productive orientation.

Regarding the aid to farmers, stipulated in 276.7 million euro, in addition to the information provided by the autonomous communities, the information provided by the AEMET on rainfall will also be taken into account to determine the crops and areas that will be subsidized.

The minister has valued the initiative of some autonomous communities that, given the very complicated situation in the sector and in order to reinforce the scope of support in such an exceptional situation, have decided to arbitrate complementary support measures.