Starting Monday, farmers and agricultural processors will begin staging protests at key points across the country, and on Tuesday the demonstrators will head to Sofia, Iliya Prodanov, President of the National Grain Growers Association, said Thursday following a national meeting in the village of Arbanassi near Veliko Tarnovo. The meeting was attended by representatives of 26 branch organizations from the agriculture sector.
The farmers demand an extension of the ban on imports of wheat, corn, sunflower and rapeseed from Ukraine, as well as to introduce a ban on imports of unrefined oil, dried milk, fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables, meat, live animals, honey and bee products from Ukraine. The agriculture sector calls for increased control on the origin, quality and safety of imported agricultural products. They also demand that full compensations for increased production costs due to the war in Ukraine to be paid by 30 September, and the aid caps to be removed.
The farmers also demand payment of state aid to producers with agricultural areas where 100% of the crop production was lost, as well as introduction of new rates of investment aids and the “de minimis” aid.
According to Simeon Karakolev, co-chair of the National Sheep and Goat Breeding Association, it is important to ban imports of dry milk and dairy products because this kills the livestock industry. He stressed that if the dialogue with the government is impossible – the only way out is indefinite strike action.
The organizers of the protests said they will announce on Friday which key roads and border crossings will be blocked by the demonstrations.
The ban on imports from Ukraine is vital for the survival of Bulgarian farmers, the protesters say.