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Belgium : Flemish potato growers foresee 10 mil Euro as support to cover part of their income losses for ‘free (non contracted) potatoes’

Today the Flemish Minister for agriculture, Mrs. Hilde Crevits, and the Flemish government have decided to foresee € 10 million from the Flemish corona emergency fund to support potato farmers who have suffered important income losses with their “free potatoes” (potatoes which have not been contracted).

Farmers with contracts have received confirmation that the processing industry will respect and execute contracts (or agree on an alternative solution). On the other hand the processors are not using free potatoes anymore, which have resulted in prices on the free market that have tumbled down as from March onwards.

Those farmers, with high amounts of free potatoes in their storages which need be distributed by food banks,  to be used as cattle feed or to be transformed into green electricity through biomethanisation, will receive a support to cover these losses caused by the Coronacrisis, which has hit the potato industry very hard.

The practical modalities to calculate the support (min/max borders, control) will be worked out soon.

This support for potato growers is part of a € 35 mio package, supporting as well the ornamental as the potato sector in the Flemish region.

Next to this the Flemish government has already foreseen to transfer nearly € 13 mio from the second to the first pillar from the CAP support, to be transmitted as a “top on” of the CAP direct income support for all Flemish farmers.

Both measures are in line with the temporary legal framework, provided by the European Union, to support farmers suffering from the economic impact of the Coronacrisis on their income.

Up to now no such actions have been foreseen for the potato growers in the Brussels Capital or the Walloon region. Agriculture is a regional competence in Belgium.

Source: Press release issued by the Flemish Ministry of Agriculture

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher of Potato News Today

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