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Spain authorizes 300m euros aid to farmers for increase in price of fertilizers

Christian Fernsby |
The Council of Ministers has agreed to authorize the payment of 300 million euros in aid to the owners of agricultural exploitations in compensation for the increase in the price of fertilizers accumulated in recent months.

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The measure, as explained by the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Luis Planas, is part of the Government's firm commitment to support farmers, ranchers and fishermen since the Russian invasion of Ukraine 11 months ago, which have had to cope with very notable increases in production costs.

The minister recalled that the prices of fertilizers have tripled in the last year, and that these are products that have a strategic nature for food production, without which harvests can be reduced by up to 20%.

Spanish farmers spend annually about 2,000 million euros on fertilizer products. Planas has been confident that these aids, with which it is a question of favoring the maintenance of the profitability of agricultural exploitations, will also have a reflection in the reduction of food prices.

The aid will be allocated to individuals or legal entities that own farms that have permanent crops and areas of farmland.

They will be granted per hectare to the surfaces of permanent crops and arable land (except fallows and temporary pastures) that have been eligible for the collection of direct aid from the Common Agrarian Policy (CAP) in the 2022 campaign, up to a maximum of 300 hectares, and a minimum payment of 200 euros is established.

It is estimated that the measure will benefit some 250,000 farmers.

The Spanish Agrarian Guarantee Fund (FEGA), in charge of instructing the aid, will pay it directly into the accounts of the beneficiaries, who will not have to do any additional paperwork to request it .

Luis Planas recalled that it is the same procedure that the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food has already used to pay aid to milk producers for 169 million euros included in the first package of measures to deal with the consequences of the war in Ukraine that the Government approved last March.

Planas has reported that the ministry and the autonomous communities have already carried out verifications of owners and surfaces and that a provisional resolution with the beneficiaries will be published throughout the month of February, so that the payment can be made in spring.

The maximum amount of aid will be 22 euros per hectare in the case of rainfed areas and 55 euros per hectare for irrigated areas.

In the case of the Autonomous Community of the Canary Islands, the beneficiaries of these aids will be the natural or legal persons who own agricultural holdings that have these types of surface and that are included in the Register of Agricultural Holdings (REGEPA) as of May 31. of 202 and the surface for the calculation will be the one collected in it.

These aids are part of a broad package of measures from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPA) in this sector and which seeks to ensure access by farmers to the necessary amount of fertilizers to achieve productive and sustainable agriculture.

The royal decree that includes these aids also stipulates a deduction of 15% in corporate tax for spending on the purchase of fertilizers for use in agricultural activity.

In the same Council of Ministers in which these aids were approved, the go-ahead was also given to another royal decree establishing standards for sustainable nutrition in agricultural soils.

The fertilizer price index in 2022 reached historic figures, mainly in the case of nitrogenous products, the manufacture of which depends on natural gas coming mostly from Russia.

The latest report from the European Commission estimated, at the end of 2022, that this key input to ensure stable production and a sufficient supply of food had increased by 150% for nitrogen fertilizers between September 2021 and September 2022.

Although the price of nitrogenous and phosphate fertilizers has fallen in recent months from the peaks reached in April 2022 and, in some cases, is below what it was a year ago, they are still at abnormally high levels.

Luis Planas recalled that fertilizers are nutrients that promote correct crop growth and improve the yield and quality of crops, so it is a necessary product for sufficient and stable food production. The aid authorized January 31 by the Council of Ministers will allow farmers to improve the planning of planting and fertilizing crops,

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