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Denmark considers political relief for drought-hit farmers

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Denmark considers political relief for drought-hit farmers
Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix
12:58 CEST+02:00
Denmark’s government is considering initiatives to relieve farmers whose crops are at risk due to the exceptionally dry summer.

The Venstre (Liberal) party, the senior member of the coalition government, said it is considering political intervention to help farmers.

“We had all hoped that some rain would have come by now. But it hasn’t,” the party’s spokesperson for food production Erling Bonnesen said.

“Whatever happens, the damage is done. And it is so great that it will have a general societal impact,” he added.

“I cannot promise anything right now. But we are taking this very seriously and considering what to do,” the MP continued.

The Danish Agriculture and Food Council held an extraordinary meeting on Wednesday as a result of the dry spell.

“We are in a serious drought, and losses are becoming greater and greater every day the sun keeps shining and it doesn’t rain. We can already see that this will hit (crops) very hard,” the council’s chair Martin Merrild told Ritzau following the meeting.

Danish agriculture has already named a number of political requests, including the advance of a financial support package, Landbrugsstøtten, scheduled for December, and extension of deadlines for payment of value added tax (moms in Danish).

Bonnesen said he was prepared to look at all proposals.

“It is very important that we do not end in a situation in which there is not enough food for the animals,” he said.

He added that any state intervention would be in the form of a helping hand in a difficult situation, rather than generally increased financial support for the agricultural sector.

Merrild said that a modest harvest due to the dry weather was likely to result in losses of 4.5 billion kroner (604 million euros).

Earlier payment of the economic package or extension of tax deadlines would enable farmers to survive poor returns from reduced harvests, but would result in a shortfall further down the line, Ritzau writes.

READ ALSO: Sunshine and heat to bring Denmark's June to dry end

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