Across Europe, manufacturers of Agricultural machinery, their components and spare parts, distributors and service companies of Agricultural machinery and equipment, and Agricultural, Rural and Forestry contractors stand united to support EU farmers and agri-cooperatives and maintain the supply of food to citizens. Our interconnected sectors are critical to the continuity of our daily lives and have rightly been recognized as such by many EU member states. We welcome the videoconference held by EU agriculture and fisheries ministers on 25 March to discuss the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on the agricultural and fisheries sectors.
We collectively see the protection of the health and safety of our employees and customers as our utmost priority. CLIMMAR, CEETTAR and CEMA welcome the guidelines issued by Member States regarding social distancing, teleworking, flexible working schedules, encouraging physical distancing measures within the workspace, and promoting the use of personal protections. Initiatives have also been launched within the industry to share best practices for containment while ensuring that our facilities remain open for production, distribution, maintenance and contracting as much as possible.
Simply put, if farmers do not have access to ordered equipment, services and spare-parts, their work, and therefore production capabilities will stop. Our borders need to remain open for traffic and trade, and agricultural machinery and their spare parts / servicing must be eligible to green fast lanes. Express service parts deliveries must be considered a priority across the EU by express carriers. Governmental inspection of machines must happen when needed to get access to distribution.
Servicing and maintenance to agricultural machinery by agricultural dealerships and mechanization companies must be guaranteed to continue on a 24/7 basis, especially in this seeding, planting and harvesting period. In order to provide this, it is essential to:
- have continuous access to agricultural machinery, spare parts and components
- ensure an ‘open border” policy towards service technicians and international cross-border traffic and distribution of machinery, spare parts, and components.
- designate the sector of agricultural dealerships and mechanization companies as a crucial and critical sector within the whole food production and supply-chain
- designate the profession of “technician / mechanic” as a critical one in order to maintain the production capacity
- provide clear information on how these critical workers can continue their job in a safe way.
European Production facilities of agricultural machinery, their components and spare parts must retain the ability to produce and ship, provided the necessary actions have been taken to allow for employees to operate safely. Manufacturers are implementing all needed measures – including temporary lock-downs if appropriate – to protect employees and retain as much production capacity and capability as possible. Manufacturers are impacted by significant supply-chain disruptions and facing significant costs to retain their ability to operate. Production facilities of agricultural machinery, their components and spare parts must clearly be included and kept by Member States in the list of critical sectors within the whole food production and supply-chain.
Land-based contractors must be allowed to deliver the planned services and be hired for emergency solutions when the capabilities of the farmers are impacted under Covid-19. Land-based contractors carry out a wide range of work, in particular for agricultural, rural or forestry companies or public authorities, such as harvesting, soil manuring, plant protection treatment and cultivation or forestry work. They contribute to a better use of resources by saving costs; provide more profitability for farming activities and more environmental protection. They also employ skilled workers specially trained for driving and working with agricultural and non-road machinery by using the newest technology.
Agriculture operates on the basis of seasons that cannot be “postponed”. This is the tillage, fertilizing, spraying and spring seeding and planting period, as the growing season for food production is starting and many agricultural machinery are in delivery. Livestock needs to be fed and cared for daily and many other critical farm, orchard, vineyard, vegetable production, etc. operations are critical at this time. We must do the utmost to safeguard the growth of food products and our food supply for next fall, winter and spring. Manufacturers, distributors and service companies of Agricultural machinery and contractors are committed to do so.