Scores of Stock Breeders Rally against Bulgaria's Agriculture Ministry

Domestic | June 26, 2013, Wednesday // 16:54|  views

Livestock breeders lined up the sidewalk against one of the entrances to the Ministry of Agriculture in Sofia. Photo by BGNES

About 30 members of the National Association of Stock Breeders protested on Wednesday at noon in front of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food.

Farmers’ sole demand is a confirmation that the money for the fall-winter season in the sector are secured, the chair of the association Boiko Sinapov stated.

The farmers hope to receive BGN 140 M, as much as in 2012, but have no assurance that the money will be paid by the beginning of the autumn.

“I doubt there is money for us,” Sinapov said. The reason for the farmers’ apprehensions is the fact that by this time in 2012 the financing in the sector was clear, but now the ministry has allegedly deliberately halted its dialogue with them.

Another cause for concern is the dismissal of the farmers’ representative in the Agriculture Ministry, who was a consultant in the Ministry under its previous leadership and their intermediator in solving the problems in the sector.

The Ministry has still not fulfilled its promise to introduce new regulations concerning the pastures, which are currently delegated to people who do not keep even a single animal but exploit the real farmers, the protesters say.

Members of the association are also indignant that despite the promised transparency, the negotiations with the European Union over the funds for the next program period are led without consulting them.

“We receive BGN 40 per sheep, and our colleagues in neighboring countries get EUR 40, even EUR 80,” Sinapov said, reiterating the Bulgarian farmers’ demands for transparency in funds granting.

The protesters explained their small number with the fact that farmers are now in the period of  storing hay and straw for the winter season.

The Food Agency did not allow farmers to take their animals to the protests, as they earlier intended.

The farmers’ protests are probably going to continue, but will stay regional.

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Tags: Bulgaria, agriculture, Ministry, farmers


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