Bratislava, December 23 (TASR) – The state will provide financial assistance to the tune of €3.5 million for farmers affected by the late April frosts, of which €2.5 million will come from the Finance Ministry and €1 million from the Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry, Finance Minister Peter Kazimir (Smer-SD) and Agriculture Minister Gabriela Matecna (a Slovak National Party/SNS nominee) announced at a joint briefing on Friday.
“We met today representatives of fruit and wine growers in Slovakia, and we decided to extend a helping hand to them in these final days of the year, to a volume of €3.5 million, which will be released as early as this year,” said Kazimir.
According to Matecna, the Agriculture Ministry will start collecting data in a registry of fruit orchards. “The data will help us to deal with future climate change, which will obviously be faced by farmers and wine growers. We need to draw up the registry so as to be able to identify ‘frost valleys’, i.e. areas unsuitable for planting orchards and vineyards,” said Matecna, adding that data from the Slovak Hydrometeorological Institute (SHMU) will be included.
Slovak Fruit Growers Union chairman Marian Varga estimated that the late April frosts cost a total of €16 million in damage to Slovak fruit growers.
“We had been expecting to get some financial help, some €5 million. Nevertheless, we’re grateful even for this. We realise that it isn’t our task to ask for money, but to grow fruit and vegetables in a way that will produce profits,” said Varga.