Saarikko: Finnish government to disburse €300m to support agriculture

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Saarikko: Finnish government to disburse €300m to support agriculture

Minister of Finance Annika Saarikko (Centre) told about the conclusions drawn in a meeting of the ministerial security of supply task force in Helsinki on Thursday, 17 March 2022. (Heikki Saukkomaa – Lehtikuva)

THE FINNISH government is putting together a support package of about 300 million euros for domestic food producers, according to Minister of Finance Annika Saarikko (Centre).

Saarikko explained last week that the support measures are an attempt to alleviate the cost crisis in agriculture and safeguard the security of food supply following the invasion of Ukraine by President Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

“This package will include quick acting forms of support that support farms’ ability to make payments,” she said according to STT, also calling attention to the responsibility of food and retail industry representatives.

“The state will do its part, but the markets are responsible for profitability.”

Saarikko said the ministerial security-of-supply task force created in response to the invasion has yet to decide how food producers should be supported because the agricultural support system is grounded on EU regulation. While Finland is lobbying to increase flexibilities in the bloc’s state subsidy rules also when it comes to agriculture, it can also resort to a number of national measures.

“There are several different options for both direct subsidies and tax breaks,” she told.

The support package, she said, will take into account the effort to wean off fossil fuels and increase energy self-sufficiency. “But because we’re in a hurry and in an acute emergency, we’ll need to allocate direct economic support to farmers.”

The government is searching specifically for quick-acting measures because of the risk to security of supply associated with the possibility that the profitability crisis compels many producers to discontinue their operations before spring sowing.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT


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