The EU’s Ministers for Agriculture discussed the current situation in the agricultural market as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, during the Agriculture and Fisheries Council which was held in Brussels on Monday.
Representing Cyprus, the Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment, Costas Kadis, informed his fellow Ministers about the difficulties faced by the country with regard to the supply of food and raw materials due to its geographical location, making particular reference to the unfavourable conditions faced by livestock farmers.
As noted in a statement by the Ministry of Agriculture, the views and suggestions submitted during the meeting will be discussed on the working group level. Within the week, the relevant working group is expected to finalise a list of possible support measures for the agricultural sector for member states to implement.
During the meeting, Ukrainian Agriculture Minister Roman Leshchenko presented to his EU counterparts the situation in his country, including issues regarding food security. The EU’s Agriculture Ministers pledged to provide all possible support in response to specific requests from the Ukrainian side.
During the discussion on food security in the EU, Kadis said that rising production costs have a direct impact on the agriculture and livestock sectors, and stressed that there is a need for concrete support measures.
Kadis particularly referred to Cyprus, noting that "its geographical location and its island character create increased difficulties in the supply of food and raw materials" while also referring to "the extremely unfavourable position of Cypriot livestock farmers, due to the increased prices of raw materials for animal feed".
The Minister added that these challenges must be tackled in a spirit of solidarity between member states through a unified response so that the viability of agriculture or the livestock sector is not jeopardised in any member state.
"A member state that is a producer of raw materials cannot build up stocks for several months and prevent the supply of another member state that does not produce raw materials" Kadis added. He also recommended the temporary suspension of import duties on raw materials for animal feed and cereals for human consumption originating in third countries, as a measure to facilitate their import at lower prices.
The Agriculture Minister also welcomed the measures proposed by the Commission to tackle the crisis, while noting that these should be additional measures.
"We are experiencing a crisis, and we consider it necessary to promote measures at least equivalent to those taken for the pandemic, both through the Rural Development Programme and through state aid," he noted.
Finally, Cyprus, together with 11 other member states, supported Spain`s request to take necessary measures to address the consequences of the significant increase in the cost of raw materials and fuel in the fisheries sector, including aquaculture.