Published April 22, 2020
We are pleased to present the second #COVIDByte, which highlights different types of assistance that have been made available for the agro-food sector
Throughout the last weeks, several policy measures have been enacted aiming to reduce the negative impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the agro-food sector. According to Agroinformación, farmers in the European Union affected by the current crisis can benefit from loans of up to 200,000€ with low interest rates and more flexible conditions. These will be funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) to compensate the losses caused by the health crisis, to reinforce hygiene measures (including conducting tests), and to increase financial liquidity in the sector. The European Commission has informed that farmers can receive their share of their CAP payments in advance. Similarly, the European Investment Bank has announced the release of 1.6 billion euros in investments to support the private agricultural and bioeconomy sectors throughout value chain. The ultimate goal is to protect rural employment and development and secure proper territorial integration in the EU.
Moreover, additional measures addressing specific sectors have been released. An example is the case of the ovine and caprine sectors, which have been severely affected by decreases in demand for their products. The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food of Spain is providing financial support of 30€ per animal for farms with up to 70 animals, and for intermediaries gathering up to 200 animals. At the regional level, additional support measures have been passed in certain areas such as Andalusia and the Balearic Islands, while the Basque government has decided to remove animals from the market.
In the case of the fishing and aquaculture sector, another one of the sectors most affected by the current situation, the European Union has modified the regulation of the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) to provide additional support measures focused on direct aid against temporary halts caused by the COVID crisis, economic compensation to the aquaculture sector, and more support to producer organizations and for assistance with storage.
Finally, those farmers who have reduced their turnover by 75% can apply for benefits available for self-employed workers due to cessation of their activity, until the end of the month when the alarm status decree is expected to end. In addition, the repayment of loans to regions and councils have been delayed.
All of these measures are aimed at stimulating the adaptability of the primary sector to the current situation, given that it is a key sector not only in terms of the economy, but also for its vital role in the provision of high-quality and safe food for the population.
The complete #COVIDBytes series:
0. Introduction (April 13)
1. COVIDByte #1 (April 14)
3. COVIDByte #3: Changes in Consumption Patterns (April 28)
4. COVIDByte #4: Impacts on prices (April 28)
6. COVIDByte #6: The Approach One health (May 11)