Bulgaria’s Grain Producers Freeze Protests until End of January

Society | December 7, 2011, Wednesday // 14:48|  views

Protesting Bulgarian farmers, mostly grain producers, occupied downtown Sofia Tuesday with about 170 tractors parked near the Saint Alexander Nevsky cathedral. Photo by BGNES

The protests of Bulgaria's grain producers over subsidy cuts have ended for the year and will not be renewed until January 31 2012, protesters surprisingly announced on Wednesday.

The grain producers are still waiting for the government to fulfill its commitments to the agricultural sector, their representatives declared during Wednesday's rally in front of the Alexander Navski cathedral in downtown Sofia.

"The government has made a lot of promises it has to fulfill until this date (January 31 2012)– the subsidy determined by the size of the land, the lift on the excise on fuel for all agriculture producers in January and others," chairman of the Bulgarian grain producers association Radoslav Hristov has reminded, as cited by the BGNES news agency.

Hristov reiterated that the grain producers are still demanding the resignations of Agriculture Minister Miroslav Naydenov and Finance Minister Simeon Djankov.

Last week, Bulgarian farmers staged nation-wide protests.

Each year farmers receive EU subsidy, which is determined by the size of their land. The amount slated for 2012 is over BGN 830 M. There are also BGN 110 M in the State budget for grain producers, BGN 71 M for animal keepers and BGN 73 M for tobacco growers.

Grain producers, however, demanded another BGN 230 M in the national treasury. The discontent escalated after the passing in the Parliament, at first reading, the draft 2012 budget, where the amount was lower than what was promised by these BGN 230 M. A month before the October 23 local and presidential elections, the cabinet and the farming associations signed a financial frame, which included BGN 570 M for the farming sector.

The farmers accuse Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, Simeon Djankov, of suffering from amnesia and discarding his own signature.

On Tuesday, the Bulgarian Association of Agricultural Producers (BAAP) officially dissociated itself Tuesday from requests for resignations of the two cabinet Ministers.

Later on Wednesday, the grain producers are expected to leave with the 170 tractors with which they arrived in the capital on Monday.

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Tags: grain producers, protests, agriculture sector, subsidies, resignations, Simeon Djankov, Miroslav Naydenov, tractors


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