|Agrifood news from around Europe
Agriculture Minister Marija Vuckovic unveiled measures for the agricultural sector on Tuesday (23 March), which are part of the government’s initial set of measures designed to help mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the economy. The ministry is now working on additional measures. Read more here. (Karla Juničić | EURACTIV.hr)
The French government has called on the unemployed to offer assistance to farmers with the upcoming seasonal harvests. However, this is difficult to implement due to the current confinement measures in place. EURACTIV France reports.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food has reported that there is “no obligation” to have a particular accreditation in order for a farmer, livestock farmer or fisherman to travel to his workplace. EURACTIV’s partner EFE Agro reports.
Concerns surrounding labour shortages in the food supply chain have prompted slaughterhouses to voice their concerns over worker shortages, as employees are sick or don’t come into work for fear of infection. This could lead to bottlenecks in production and subsequently higher prices for consumers. To address these concerns, Chairman of the North Rhine-Westphalian State Market Association for Livestock and Meat has called for the temporary removal of working time regulations and suggested that other states follow suit. (Sarah Lawton | EURACTIV.de)
The coronavirus epidemic is changing consumer behaviour, with Poland experiencing a boom in online stores run by local farmers offering “short food supply chain” products. The turnover of many of these stores has increased by up to 200% in recent days; however, some entrepreneurs are having to withhold deliveries this week due to a large number of orders. (Mateusz Kucharczyk| EURACTIV.pl)
With the strawberry and berry picking season just weeks away, farmers have called for the creation of a ‘land army’ to sustain UK food production during the coronavirus crisis. Farmers in many parts of the country are already struggling after months of severe floods, and the supply of seasonal workers was already in doubt because of Brexit, but the UK faces renewed fears over severe labour shortages in light of the recent outbreak. (Natasha Foote | EURACTIV.com)
The closure of all McDonald’s restaurants in Ireland and the UK this week is set to come as a big blow to the Irish beef sector, according to the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA). IFA president Tim Cullinan wrote to European Commissioner for Agriculture, Janusz Wojciechowski, last week stressing that the Commission needed to stand ready to support the EU beef market after the impact of COVID-19. “The Irish beef price is already well below the cost of production for farmers. They cannot sustain any further cuts,” he said. (Natasha Foote | EURACTIV.com)
Actors in the food supply chain haven’t been affected by the new wave of restrictive measures to halt the novel coronavirus outbreak in Italy. “All the necessary activities related to the smooth functioning of the food supply chain, including transports, remain open,” said Italy’s agriculture minister Teresa Bellanova. (Gerardo Fortuna | EURACTIV.com)