De la Concha: “We will not leave the sector to its fate, we will keep it alive and the aid will come”.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food is mobilising a total of 10 million euros for the primary and agri-food sectors of the Balearic Islands to alleviate the economic effects of the war in Ukraine. The councillor, Mae de Concha, explained the aid and measures this Friday at a press conference in which she was accompanied by the director-general of Agriculture, Livestock and Rural Development, Fernando Fernández, and the director-general of Fisheries and the Marine Environment, Joan Mercant. The regional aid and measures for the agriculture, livestock, agri-food and fisheries sector are complemented by state and European aid.
The 10 million euros correspond to different aids, subsidies and tax exemptions. 2.5 million in aid for the agricultural and livestock sector to cope with price increases for cereals, fodder, animal feed, fertilisers and other non-energy inputs, and up to 65% of the cost of transport will be subsidised.
There will also be a ¤1.5 million de minimis aid line for the fisheries sector. It is available to the 330 professional fishing vessels in the Balearic Islands.
Councillor De la Concha stressed that “after some difficult years, the ministry is once again responding to the problems affecting the sector, and that is why with these measures we will try to cover as many people and companies as possible”. “We will not leave the sector to its fate, we will keep it alive because it has been shown to be vital and strategic, and the aid will come”, he remarked.
As for the regional subsidies, professional fishing vessels are exempted from the water and electricity supply tax and the storage tax. During the COVID-19 pandemic, these two taxes were reduced by 50%. The port tax, which relates to profits from the sale of fish, is also reduced by 50%. This tax was not subsidised during the pandemic. These rebates will be for the first half of 2022 and will amount to around 300,000 euros. Finally, 6 million euros in ISBA credits are also made available. These are 60-month liquidity loans with a one-year grace period, with a 100% discount on the interest rate, the cost of the guarantee, the study and opening costs.
More than 4 million euros in state aid
The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food has also launched several measures aimed at the sector. The Balearic Islands will have more than 4 million euros, in the form of direct aid, to compensate for rising prices, especially for cereals, fertilisers, animal feed and fuel. This involves the mobilisation of 193 million euros in aid for the agricultural and livestock sector, 169 million euros for the dairy sector and 68 million euros for the fishing sector.
The milk sector is one of the sectors most affected by this crisis, both in terms of increased electricity and fuel costs, as well as imports of animal feed. Of the 169 million euros, 124 million euros will go to the cow’s milk sector, and there will be three tranches: 210 euros per cow up to a maximum of 40 animals per beneficiary, 245 euros per animal on a farm between 41 and 180, and 80 euros in the case of more than 180 cows; 32.3 million euros will go to sheep’s milk producers and they will receive 15 euros per animal or 12.7 million euros for goat’s milk producers with 10 euros per animal. In the Balearic Islands, there are 130 dairy cattle farms, and 14 dairy sheep and goat farms. Thus, for example, a farm with 60 cows will receive 12,170 euros, and one with 47 cows, 9,400 euros. This aid will be paid in August. The Director-General for Agriculture, Livestock and Rural Development, Fernando Fernández, explained that “this aid will provide additional liquidity to get us through the year”.
Farmers, stockbreeders and fishermen will also benefit from the 20 cents per litre fuel reduction. In the case of farmers and stockbreeders, this will mean an estimated cost reduction of 78 million euros and 16 million euros in the case of fishermen. The fishing sector will also not have to pay the port tax in State ports for fresh fish, and will have another specific measure such as the deferral of the payment of social security contributions for a period of 3 months. According to the Director of Fisheries and the Marine Environment, Joan Mercant, “the Ministry’s response has been effective and rapid, and the Government’s response complements everything necessary in a balanced and fair way”.
Other complementary European measures
The European Commission has authorised the rule that allows fallow land to be used for cereals and oilseeds, without penalty when it comes to receiving aid from the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). This will mean that up to 600,000 hectares can be put into production in Spain. In the Balearic Islands, 4,569 hectares lie fallow, 220 of which are irrigated and can therefore be used for protein crops, and the rest is unirrigated land that will be used for grazing.