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Saxony's environment minister promises financial aid for fruit and wine growers after frost damage

Frost damage on a vine / Photo: Sebastian Kahnert/dpa
Frost damage on a vine / Photo: Sebastian Kahnert/dpa

Saxony's Environment Minister holds out the prospect of aid for affected fruit and wine growers after frost damage caused immense damage.

Just over a month after the immense frost damage, the Saxon Environment Minister has promised financial aid for Saxony's fruit and winegrowing businesses. "I am firmly committed to Saxon fruit and wine growing. There will be decisive aid," said Wolfram Günther (Greens) according to a press release on Wednesday. "The damage is dramatically high, the industry needs help, and it will get it."

The specific damage is currently being recorded. "The amounts of damage also depend on whether fruit that may grow back in small quantities after a second budding can be marketed at all, or whether new shoots in viticulture still produce small harvests," explained Günther. "We are currently examining all possible support options together with the other departments. The cabinet will take the necessary decision as soon as possible."

Financing still needs to be finalized. "The state government has made provisions for this and adopted funding guidelines for such emergencies a few years ago, as a kind of stockpile," said Günther. It was agreed at the time that the financing of the aid would be shouldered jointly. "The Ministry of Finance has budget reserves and surpluses, for example from the hardship aid from the energy crisis." With regard to his own department, the minister emphasized that the medium and long-term financial capabilities must be maintained in order to invest in climate protection and adaptation to climate change.

In the night of 23 April, temperatures in Saxony's fruit and wine-growing regions dropped to as low as minus seven degrees at ground level for several hours. Although night frosts are not unusual in the second half of April, the previously high temperatures meant that the fruit trees and vines had started flowering particularly early and were already well advanced by the end of April. The plants were therefore particularly susceptible to damage. The Saxony & Saxony-Anhalt Fruit Growers' Association recently estimated the crop loss at between 50 and 70 million euros.

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