THE US PILES UP SUPPORT FOR FARMERS ON THE COVID-19 CRISIS – AND THE EU?
The US has announced a new package of support to help farmers cope with the brutal Covid-19 crisis. It will include $16 billion in direct payments to livestock producers, fruit and vegetable growers and other sectors, plus $3 billion in commodity purchases. The US government committed to buying every month $100 million in fresh produce, $100 million in dairy products and $100 million in meat products.
May I remind the readers that this package comes on top of a previous Covid-19 relief package, and two other specific packages to cushion the impact of the trade war with China.
The Covid-19 crisis is striking worldwide, and many commodity prices are sinking to farmers around the world. In the EU the crisis is already acute in the wine, dairy, beef, sugar and ethanol, flowers and segments of the fruit and vegetable sectors. It is brewing in other sectors. What has the EU response been so far?
The EU Commissioner for Agriculture told the European Parliament that the Commission had no additional available resources to help. However it would appear that this year’s CAP budget still has a few hundred million euros that could be mobilized. And next year’s budget could still accommodate the funds needed.
We need urgently two things to happen in the EU, if we wish to cope as best as possible with this crisis: we need first to change gear, and quickly move from a wait-and-see attitude to top speed in tackling the crisis, sector by sector; and second we need the additional resources.
Now that the Commission is redrafting its budget proposals for 2021-27, agriculture should not be left behind, just because it did not stop feeding the Europeans whilst most of the economy evaporated.