The Minister of Agriculture Kazys Starkevičius met with the His Excellency the U.S. Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary in Lithuania John Albert Cloud JR. “You have a great responsibility to lead the Ministry in this difficult economic period. I wish you the greatest success, good works and achievements”, the Ambassador said at the meeting.
Minister Kazys Starkevičius presented agricultural concerns of today to H. E. Ambassador John Albert Cloud JR: the situation in the dairy sector, dominance of Polish meat products in the market, the need to revise the excise policy. The Ambassador was introduced to tax innovations for farmers, the simplified conditions for the provision of European support. “We will make every effort to ensure the full utilisation of the European support as quickly as possible. We hope that this will contribute to the growth of gross domestic product in our country”, said the Minister. K. Starkevičius presented the tool of engineering and maintenance – a certain fund which would allow farmers to receive easier loans for working capital. It is expected that it will start already this summer. “In the past, farmers could borrow from banks, but now, in order to facilitate the interest burden, we enabled to borrow from natural and legal persons”, noted the Minister. “Since 1991, European support was received by about 3 thousand of farmers, and, as is known, there are about 90 thousand registered farmers. We are not satisfied with it: we will seek the most effective means for the dissemination of support and we hope that within the next 7-years about 30-40 thousand of farmers will benefit from it.” The Prime Minister told the Ambassador of regular meetings with farmers, their problems and concerns. “I think these meetings with farmers are very useful - you can only find common solutions and understand the economic situation better when communicating”, noted H. E. the U.S. ambassador to Lithuania John Albert Cloud JR.
Minister Kazys Starkevičius drew attention to the established cooperation between the Lithuanian Agricultural and Ohio State universities. This collaboration aims to various and wide-ranging exchange in the areas of agricultural, scientific, agricultural business development.
The U.S. Ambassador to Lithuania told about the use of biotechnology in food and feed production industry, and asked the Minister for support in the European Union Council to the United States intentions of marketing these products in the EU market. The Ambassador emphasised that the EU’s Food Safety Authority has determined that these products manufactured in the United States meet safety requirements, so there is no risk to human health.
“This is a difficult period for many. So I sincerely wish the best to you, and also to the Government of your country, in overcoming all difficulties. If only we can help you with any issues, we are always open for cooperation”, H. E. the U.S. Ambassador to Lithuania John Albert Cloud JR concluded the meeting with greetings.