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HomeLatviaFarmers to join forest owners' protest in Riga next week

Farmers to join forest owners’ protest in Riga next week

Farmers will join the protest Latvia’s forest owners and timber industry representatives are planning to stage outside the government house in Riga on next week, representatives of the nongovernment organization Zemnieku Saeima (Farmers’ Assembly) told LETA.

The protest is scheduled to take place next Tuesday, March 5.

The NGO’s chairman Juris Lazdins said that during the protest, the farmers intend to call the government’s attention to their concerns that behind the European Union’s (EU) Green Deal slogans there are actually hidden encumbrances on privately owned agricultural land that are causing and will cause huge losses to Latvian farmers.

“Our demand is to not permit land-use restrictions on the national level unless they are followed by adequate financial resources,” Lazdins said, adding that Latvia needs to come to a political agreement and quickly work out an action plan with concrete terms stipulating compensations for farmers affected by the land-use restrictions in order to protect them from bankruptcy.

As LETA reported, Latvia’s forest owners and timber industry representatives are planning to stage a protest outside the government house in Riga on March 5, LETA was told at the Latvian Forest Owners Association (LFOA).

The protest is intended to raise awareness of long-neglected problems affecting Latvia’s forest owners and people working in the forest industry.

According to the association, the industry is suffering from unfair treatment both on the national and European Union (EU) level. One of the most painful issues is compensations for forest owners whose forest lands are designated for nature protection.

The protest’s organizers want the government to pay fair compensations to the forest owners and to refrain from designating new territories where business activity is restricted until fairer compensations are introduced.

The forest industry is also calling for a concept to be developed for a voluntary nature conservation system in Latvia and to prevent the forest sector in Latvia from being placed at a significant disadvantage compared to other EU member states, while cutting red tape that undermines the international competitiveness of the forest sector.

“Forest owners are not against a sensible nature conservation policy – it is in our own interest to preserve the proportion and quality of Latvia’s forest areas. However, people all over Latvia are in a helpless situation because, although not formally, their land is being nationalized,” says the association’s chairman Arnis Muiznieks.

He explains that at present, compensations to forest owners for restrictions on their property are unfair. The annual compensation for a hectare of forest land where business activity is either prohibited or significantly restricted is EUR 50-190, which is not even one percent of the forest’s actual value.

Muiznieks noted that red tape is growing with each new regulation and directive, while “bloody” timber products from Russia and Belarus are still finding their way into the EU.

Source: BNS

(Reproduction of BNS information in mass media and other websites without written consent of BNS is prohibited.)

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