European Commission presents €500 million support package for food security

28 March 20223 min reading

The European Commission has announced a €500 million support package to help European Union farmers most affected by the war in Ukraine.

The European Commission presented a wide range of short- and medium-term measures to improve global food security and support EU farmers, ranchers and consumers in the light of rising food and commodity prices. Firstly, the Commission has adopted exceptional support measures of €500 million to directly assist those farmers most affected by the higher input costs and the closure of export markets. The Commission will submit its proposal to use the crisis reserve for this support package to both the European Parliament and the Council. Member States can exceptionally complement this EU support by up to 200% with national funds.

In addition, the Commission will allow Member States to pay increased levels of CAP direct payments in advance, to address the cash-flow difficulties that farmers are facing. The Commission has also adopted an exceptional and temporary derogation to allow the production of any crops on fallow land this year, while maintaining the full level of greening payment for farmers. In view of the particularly difficult situation of the pigmeat sector, the Commission will open a new private storage aid scheme to stabilise markets. Member States can also take measures at national levels. A Temporary Crisis Framework for State Aid has been put in place to allow Member States to grant direct aid to producers affected by the crisis and to energy intensive undertakings, such as fertiliser manufactures. Finally, some Member States have started to use specific flexibilities to existing import requirements related to pesticides for animal feed, provided that safety is ensured.

Valdis Dombrovskis , Executive Vice President of the Commission has stated: “Russia's war against Ukraine has created a multitude of problems, also in relation to world food security. As far as food is concerned, the time has come for Europe to show its solidarity by helping Ukraine and its citizens, farmers and ranchers, as well as vulnerable food-importing countries around the world, who are facing a prices and a possible shortage. We will continue to provide humanitarian aid to alleviate the suffering of Ukrainians so that they have access to basic goods and services, especially food. At the same time, we must avoid any export restrictions to keep food prices in check. Although the EU itself does not face a food security risk.”

Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski said: “The EU is an agricultural superpower and we will ensure that our farmers and ranchers have the full support of the Commission to meet the world's food needs. We will do this by simultaneously striving to make our food supply chains more sustainable and resilient in the face of future shocks.”

Food availability is not currently at stake in the EU, as the continent is largely self-sufficient for many agricultural products. However, its agricultural sector is a net importer of some products, for example, proteins for animal feed. This vulnerability, together with the high costs of inputs such as fertilizers and energy from fossil sources, is causing production problems for farmers and ranchers and risks driving up food prices.

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