Determined not to let anyone take advantage of the victims of the disasters in Thessaly is the government.

This was emphasized by the Minister of Rural Development and Food, Lefteris Avgenakis, at a press conference in Larissa, referring both to cases of ill-gotten gains and to phenomena of submitting false statements.

He described as unacceptable this kind of games at the expense of those who were really affected and clarified that the ministry is not going to accept false statements.

He also announced that, following his invitation, the Commissioner of Georgia, Janus Wojciechowski, will visit Thessaly next Wednesday (27/9) to see firsthand the devastation suffered by the region.

During the press conference, the minister referred in detail to the actions of each supervised Organization, but also to the proposals he submitted on Monday to the Council of Ministers of Agriculture and Fisheries for the activation and utilization of resources.

He asked for an increase in the Agricultural Reserve of 450 million euros for 2024, derogations for the PAA and NSRF programs, the activation of measures for the natural disasters of the CAP, but also the permission for ad hoc support of ELGA from the state budget.

Regarding the possibility of cultivating the lands, the Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development said that according to the first data of the ELGO – DIMITRA scientific investigations, it does not appear from anywhere that the lands are contaminated. He emphasized that the studies will soon be completed and the general assessment is that they will be able to be cultivated quickly.

“It is our patriotic duty to stand on the side of the affected,” said Lefteris Avgenakis and regarding the cases of profiteering, he emphasized that “those who profit off the backs of the affected will suffer what the prime minister said: we will crush them.”

Regarding the false declarations, the Ministry’s spokesperson, Giorgos Stratakos, said that the YPAAT has the possibility of checks through the base of Veterinary Medicine and the ARTEMIS system and knows who are the ones who have submitted them. Excesses will be checked and amounts collected will be returned as overpaid.

The president of ELGA, Andreas Lykourentzos, called on the producers to file as soon as possible their declarations for the payment of compensation, even handwritten, as long as they include their VAT number and a telephone number. The president of ELGA also referred to the need for honesty in statements, pointing out: “We manage public money. Honesty is a moral issue. There will be an accurate and fair check.” And he noted that false statements delay the process. He also clarified that beekeepers who are insured will be compensated according to the prescribed procedure. He said that appraisal fees were never requested and if someone paid they would be refunded and he repeated that the presence of an ELGA appraiser is not required for the removal of the animals.

Finally, the figures to date for dead animal management and declarations are as follows:

DEAD ANIMALS:

Sheep and goats: 75,723 declared – 41,334 managed

Pigs: 21,342 declared – 16,565 managed

Cattle: 6,709 declared – 502 managed

DAMAGE STATEMENTS:

Plant production: 9,817

Livestock: 2,011