Bulgarian Farmers Protested in Sofia Demanding Increased Aid

Politics | November 30, 2023, Thursday // 14:30
Bulgaria: Bulgarian Farmers Protested in Sofia Demanding Increased Aid

Bulgarian livestock and greenhouse farmers have reassembled in Sofia for another round of protests, staging a demonstration outside the Ministry of Agriculture and Food. Organized by multiple farmer associations, including the United Bulgarian Stockbreeders Association and the Bulgarian Greenhouse Growers Association, the protest echoes the demands voiced during last week's capital demonstration.

Their requests remain consistent: a specific allocation in the 2024 state budget to compensate for the fallout from the Ukraine war, increased aid for farmers, reinstating last year's aid levels based on output, and the clearance of overdue payments linked to the Ukraine conflict.

Responding to the protestors, the Agriculture Ministry issued a statement addressing their demands, outlining measures aimed at augmenting support for various farmer groups.

However, Dimitar Zorov of the National Union of Cattle Breeders in Bulgaria refuted the Ministry's claims of alleged coercion tactics used to involve small and mid-sized farms in the protests, asserting they lacked the capacity for such pressures. Accusing the Ministry of disseminating disinformation, Zorov emphasized their lack of familiarity with the newly announced aid for energy costs and questioned its significance given that energy isn't a primary expense for farmers.

Simultaneously, while the protest unfolded, the Agriculture Ministry released a written response highlighting steps taken to bolster farmer support, including budget allocations, additional funding requests, and specific aid programs.

Key initiatives highlighted by the Agriculture Ministry include significant allocations in the 2024 State Budget Bill, additional requested funding from the Finance Ministry, and measures to support liquidity and compensate irrigation expenses. Moreover, the Ministry emphasized coupled aid plans and an increase in the number of eligible farmers and livestock, citing approvals from the European Commission (EC) for extended aid periods and increased aid amounts.

The aid, already endorsed by the EC, targets farmers impacted by the Russian aggression against Ukraine and aims to aid thousands of farmers in the fruit, vegetable, and livestock sectors.

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Tags: Bulgaria, farmers, sofia, protest

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