The state will support Bulgarian food producers not only financially, but by protecting their interests at all level – such promise was made by cabinet representatives to representatives of 35 organizations in the livestock sector during a meeting at the Council of Ministers, the government press centre said on Tuesday. Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov, Finance Minister Assen Vassilev and Deputy Agriculture Minister Deyan Stratev took part in the talks.
Bulgaria will stop producing food and will import everything from abroad if there is no increase in the state aid to the sector, farmers pointed out. They shared their main problems – high production costs, low farm gate prices, difficult access to support and insufficient subsidies.
Some of them strongly opposed another extension of the ban on cereal imports from Ukraine. Their arguments were that it makes fodder more expensive and therefore the final product more expensive, leading to higher food prices in shops and increasing inflation.
The producers asked the state to stop the illegal import of food products from neighbouring countries, which undercut the prices of Bulgarian produce. They protested against the policy of large retail chains that buy their goods cheaply and sell them to end customers at double the price. The farmers demanded a check on the pricing of food from farm to store.
“Joint teams from the Finance Ministry and the Agriculture Ministry are already working on this issue,” Vassilev replied.
Livestock farmers were unanimous that the Strategic Plan for Agricultural and Rural Development for the period 2023 – 2027 presented by the caretaker government did not sufficiently take into account their interests and demanded its revision.
“The maximum aid for the sector is foreseen in the budget, but there was a big delay in the preparation of some documents by the caretaker government, which we are now trying to catch up,” Vassilev explained. He added that the second part of the financial aid for farmers to overcome the negative economic impact of the Russian aggression against Ukraine is set in the draft budget for 2023, which is expected to be adopted by parliament by the end of this week. The funds are expected to be paid to producers in September this year.