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Estonian farmers promise to rally demanding compensation of losses from Russian food ban

August 04, 2015, 17:00 UTC+3 TALLINN
If the government and society in general demonstrate no understanding of the critical situation the country’s farmers are in, they promise to take to the streets
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© TASS/Alexandr Sherbak

TALLINN, August 4. /TASS/. Estonian farmers will take to the streets demanding compensation for the losses they are sustaining from Russian food imports ban, President of Estonia’s Dairy Union Jaanus Murakas said on Tuesday.

"If the authorities provide no prompt reaction to our demands, we will stage protest actions," he told journalists. "Our farmers are at the breaking point, they have nothing to lose. If the government and society in general demonstrate no understanding of the critical situation the country’s farmers are in, we will take to the streets."

"As of now, there is no political decision on assistance to farmers," he added.

On Monday, the Dairy Union came out with an open letter to the authorities demanding an emergency budgetary support of seven million euro.

"In February, the European Commission paid €6.9 million to Estonian farmers as a crisis subsidy. The European Union has agreed that the government will pay a similar sum from its budget," Murakas said earlier. He reminded that the country’s politicians had promised financial support to farmers ahead of the parliamentary elections in March. "The elections are over but nothing has been done," he said.

Currently, procurement prices for milk in Estonia have dropped by 30% to the lowest-ever level of 21-23 euro cents per one liter. "It is a razor edge. It will be followed by slaughter of livestock and a series of bankruptcies," the Union said, blaming the crisis on reciprocal sanctions of the European Union and Russia, and on the abandonment of milk quotas in the European Union.

Russia's food embargo

On August 6, 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered to ban or restrict for a term of one year the imports of agricultural produce, raw materials and foodstuffs from countries that joined the economic sanctions against Russia over its stance on Ukraine.

On the following day, Russia imposed a package of measures to respond to economic sanctions from the United States, Australia, Canada, the European Union and Norway. Thus, Russia banned for a term of one year the imports of fruit, vegetables, milk and dairy products from these countries. Later on, Russia imposed restrictions on food imports from Belarus and Serbia to prevent re-export of banned European products. On May 1, 2015, Russia banned peanut imports and on May 26 - live chicken imports from the United States. On June 4, imports of canned fish from Latvia and Estonia were banned.

On June 24, 2015, Putin signed a decree extending the food ban till August 5, 2016.

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