May 22 – the Latvian government formally unveiled vegetable beds which, for the first time, will replace the flowers usually found at the foot of the building. Cabbages, beetroot and pumpkins have been planted in Riga as a way for the Latvian authorities to show their demand for higher farm subsidies for their farmers. The activity has been named “Country Enters the City”.
“Today we have planted our vegetables and this autumn we hope to reap our harvest with a better deal on direct payments for our farmers,” Minister of Agriculture Laimdota Straujuma told the French Press Agency AFP.
Along with other Baltic countries, Latvia is disappointed by the CAP reform proposals released by the European Commission for 2014, estimating that its farmers are disadvantaged compared to other EU-15 Member States. According to the European Commission figures, the future distribution of EU money could fix an average of €144 per eligible hectare in Latvia, which is far below the EU-27 average of €280 per eligible hectare.
“We entered the EU in the hope for equal treatment for all, but this is not always the case,” said Ansis Bogustovs, a Latvian television journalist who launched the idea of vegetable plants. He also warned that Latvian farmers could go further in their traditional celebration of the traditionnel midsummer, running naked through the streets of Brussels.
Find a selection photos from the vegetable planting action here: