Norway refuses to give drought-stricken farmers extra aid package

Source: Xinhua| 2018-08-08 21:44:39|Editor: xuxin
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OSLO, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) -- The Norwegian Farmers Union had asked for an additional crisis package after an extreme drought this summer, but the government said no to any allocations beyond the approved crop damage compensation, public broadcaster NRK reported Wednesday.

Norway's Minister of Agriculture Jon Georg Dale previously estimated that the compensation for crops destroyed by the drought might be worth several hundred million kroner, the report said.

"However, we have to wait until we see how the actual state of crops is. We have a very good compensation scheme and additional grants will be added, but a special crisis package is not applicable at this time," Dale said, adding that the government approved import of animal food to improve the situation.

Lars Petter Bartnes, leader of the farmers' union, said this crisis is much larger than the agricultural agreement and they need the money to save Norway's food production.

"We can not wait to make decisions about purchasing expensive animal feed from abroad or to slaughter animals until agreements have been renegotiated and the money is on the table," Bartnes said.

Also, representatives from the Norwegian Farmers and Smallholders Union (NBS) reacted strongly to the decision of the agriculture minister.

"I am angry, simple as that. It is not possible to be a professional minister and have so little insight into the current crisis. The compensation scheme fits in normal crisis years. Now it is a state of emergency. It does not help to relocate too little money, we need additional amount," Merethe Furuberg from the NBS told NRK.

The minister's decision also caused Geir Pollestad, leader of the nutrition committee, to react.

"The government's No is very provocative. This is contrary to the signals Centre, Labour, Social Left and Christian Parties have given throughout the summer. These parties constitute a majority in the parliament," Pollestad said. (1 U.S. dollar = 8.19 Norwegian kroner)