As the “war of sanctions” between the EU and Russia continues, the milk procurement price in Estonia is slumping. Since the beginning of the year, it has suffered a 30% decline. For the time being, Estonian farmers are suffering huge losses and demand a €7-million EUR financial assistance from the government, according to the Postimees. “When you work all your life to develop your business and are now about to lose everything, what you feel is total despair,” says farmer Ants Aman.
Today, Estonian milk producers addressed the authorities with an open letter demanding immediate assistance from the state budget. Minister of Agriculture and Rural Policy Deputy Chancellor Illar Lemetti responded to the farmers’ request saying the ministry will do everything possible, even will resort to help of the EU. Earlier in February, the European Commission paid €6.9 million to the Estonian farmers as a crisis subsidy.
Earlier, Estonian officials promised to launch export of milk to Japan and other countries instead of the closed Russian market, but they have not fulfilled their promise yet. So far, Estonia has no capacities to process raw milk. Neither can it export milk to Lithuania where local farmers produce milk enough and to spare, Err reports.
Earlier, Anne Sulling, the Minister of Foreign Trade and Entrepreneurship, said Estonia plans to redirect the pre-sanctions volume of milk export to Russia to Japan. She said the country has found a “loyal and long-term partner.” However, Oliver Kruuda, the head of Tere Concern, says they have managed to export only one lot of milk powder to Asia. In his words, it is impossible to make long-term contracts with Japan, due to the peculiarities of the local market.
At present, the milk procurement price in Estonia has fallen to what the milk producers call an extremely low level – 21-23 eurocents per liter. Experts say all this may lead to cattle slaughtering and a series of bankruptcies.