Bulgarian Grain Farmers Declare Indefinite Protest, Blocking the Country with Heavy Equipment

Industry | February 5, 2024, Monday // 18:23|  views

The National Association of Grain Producers (NAG) in Bulgaria has declared an indefinite protest set to commence tomorrow at 10:00 a.m., involving the blockage of 80 key points across the country utilizing heavy equipment. This move comes as a response to the dissatisfaction among grain farmers regarding the outcomes of a recent meeting at the Council of Ministers, deeming the state's proposed methodology for support unsatisfactory.

Central to the discontent is the assertion by the NAG that the support methodology lacks competent economic expertise, as the annual tax return for the last year is deemed insufficient to reflect the increasing losses faced by agricultural producers over the past three years. The NAG insists on a comprehensive reconsideration of aid distribution proposals and the budget allocation, emphasizing the need to prevent widespread bankruptcies within the Bulgarian agriculture sector. Additionally, the association calls for clear guarantees regarding legislative changes, with leaders of parliamentary groups expected to undertake these changes to ensure the sector's sustainability.

The farmers' discontent is not solely directed at financial matters. The NAG emphasizes the urgency of implementing legislative initiatives to improve opportunities for agricultural activity. This includes changes in the Law on the Ownership and Use of Agricultural Lands to facilitate the process of voluntary agreements on collective land use. The proposed legislative initiatives also cover alterations to the Lease Law aimed at regulating the conclusion of long-term contracts for renting or leasing agricultural land.

Furthermore, the NAG advocates for the creation and adoption of laws such as the Law on Branch Organizations in Agriculture, the Law on the Agrarian Chamber, and the Law on Agricultural Cooperatives. Other demands include defining irrigation as a strategic national priority and relaxing regulatory regimes for investment projects related to water-saving technologies.

The association also calls for a firm stance to protect Bulgarian production during the renegotiation of the regulation on liberalized trade with Ukraine. This involves preventing threats to native production of grain and oil crops by including protective measures, licensing regimes, and quotas for imported raw materials.

In response to environmental requirements related to agriculture resulting from the Green Deal, the NAG urges the Bulgarian side to uphold and demand at the European level the relaxation of green rules. This includes advocating for derogation from mandatory conditions under the Common Agricultural Policy related to crop rotation and minimum shares of arable land set aside for non-productive areas.

As the protest actions unfold, the NAG emphasizes that the duration of the protests will increase each day, excluding Saturdays and Sundays, when roads will remain open in the interest of citizens.

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Tags: Bulgarian, agriculture, grain, farmers, protest


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