Farmers are reeling from this year's dry spell will receive state aid – albeit returnable – after President Ivan Gašparovič on Tuesday, August 7, signed into law a bill that introduces such assistance, the TASR newswire reported. The law, which was recently passed via fast-tracked proceedings in parliament, addresses the provision of assistance from the Environmental Fund towards prevention, mitigation and removal of the effects of extreme weather. This concerns not only extreme drought and lack of rainfall, but also torrential rains that re-occur frequently in some areas.
"We're facing a conjunction of unfavourable factors. First it was floods in 2010 and now it's the dry spell, and actually it's almost the same places that have been hit by both," said Agriculture Minister Ľubomír Jahnátek, whose ministry drafted the bill.
The assistance, which is interest-free, should not have to be returned, according to two-time former agriculture minister Zsolt Simon (Most-Híd). "If we want to help them, let's give them money that they don't have to give back and that will enable them to sow crops for next year," he said. Simon also pointed out that while he was in office (2002-06 and 2010-12) there were outstanding loans worth €50 million – some of them going back to 2001 – which the ministry still has not been able to recover to this day.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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8. Aug 2012 at 14:00