Bulgarian Beekeepers Protest against Ukrainian Imports

Politics | September 16, 2023, Saturday // 10:10
Bulgaria: Bulgarian Beekeepers Protest against Ukrainian Imports

Beekeepers also join the protest of grain producers. They are dissatisfied with the import of Ukrainian bee products, which, according to them, do not meet the requirements of the European Union and are sold much cheaper than Bulgarian products.

Stefan Stefanov from Varna has been a beekeeper for 13 years and takes care of over 100 hives. He claims that in recent years keeping bees has been a waste of time. In addition to the constantly falling purchase prices of honey, the problem for the Bulgarian beekeeper is also the high prices of consumables.

"The problem is that the ban on the import of agricultural products from Ukraine - grain and honey, from which we are particularly affected - has been lifted. The price at the moment, purchased wholesale, is from 3.20 leva to 3.80 leva per kilogram, while two or three years ago it was 6 leva and up. With the entry of Ukrainian honey into Bulgaria, the price dropped sharply, they don't even buy our honey wholesale," said Stefan Stefanov.

Ukrainian and Chinese honey are offered as Bulgarian honey, Stefanov pointed out and added that the taste qualities of foreign honey are much lower.

"They do not comply with the European requirements for the cultivation and treatment of bees. They use cheap preparations, prohibited preparations, which for us, Bulgarian beekeepers, is absolutely prohibited. They use antibiotics, which, when found in honey, absolutely stop our honey, while they use these things, and for them this is the way of making honey cheap," Stefan Stefanov added.

Bulgarian beekeepers ask why, unlike Bulgaria, countries like Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary have protective mechanisms for farmers and dumping of Ukrainian agricultural goods is not allowed.

"The other requirement is for Bulgarian honey to protect its name and for both Strandzha honey, Manova and Bulgarian honey to have their own name and to be protected. To follow a system for tracking imports, exports and bottling, labeling. To track why the aid that was promised to Ukraine has not yet been paid. We have submitted applications since 2022, we have received 12 leva per family," said beekeeper Stefan Stefanov.

The industry says that given the situation there will be protests. Representatives of 23 beekeeping organizations in the country, including from the Varna region, have confirmed that next week they will express their dissatisfaction to the Ministry of Agriculture.

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Tags: beekeepers, protest, Ukrainian, honey

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