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Germany: Government Promises Emergency Relief for Farmers

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Due to this summer’s drought, the German government has promised affected farmers emergency relief payments. The total sum for this purpose is 340 million Euro. Germany’s Minister of Agriculture, Julia Klöckner, said the federal government itself would give up to 170 million Euro, due to this summer’s crop loss, while the provinces should cover the other half.

According to German-language media reports, the existence of some 10,000 farms all over the country is threatened because of the latest heatwave in Germany, which caused the severe drought. Temperatures above 40 degrees Centigrade (104 degrees Fahrenheit) were measured several times in different regions. There was hardly any rain for several weeks.

Minister Klöckner declared a national state of emergency, based on the recent weather crisis, in order to be able to make the emergency relief available. Farms which lost more than 30 percent of their average harvest will be eligible for support. The federal government will decide about procedural questions with the governments in the provinces.

The last time the government provided emergency relief for farmers in 2003, a total of 80 million Euro were paid.

Joachim Rukwied, President of the German Farmers’ Association, said the grain harvest was “dreadful”. Therefore, the government and provinces needed to jump-start their support program for farms affected by the drought as quickly as possible. High producer prices on the international crop markets were necessary too. The association had initially demanded a billion Euro in aid for famers.

As it turns out, this year’s drought has caused crop shortfalls mainly in northern and eastern Germany. Nationwide, the crop failure amounts to more than 35 million tons or 22 percent compared to last year’s harvest, according to the Farmers’ Association. The organization says, there was absolutely nothing left in some regions. In others, the crop shortfall had amounted to 50 to 70 percent.

Apart from grain, potatoes, sugar beets and animal feed were affected as well.

Minister Julia Klöckner said she was worried about the effects of the drought, which many farmers in the north and east of the country were affected by. “The increase of producer prices by around 10 percent is a small compensation for some farmers”, she said. It was important to have a detailed overview, the minister stated in Berlin.

The Agriculture Ministry said, farmers affected could apply for an extension of tax debt, while the tax authorities had the option to wave late fees.

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