site.btaFarmers Demand Compensations from EU for Ukrainian Grain Imports
The Bulgarian Farmers Union supports the position of Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov that Bulgaria should request additional compensations from the European Commission (EC) for Bulgarian grain producers' losses, especially those of sunflower, after the lift of the ban on Ukrainian grain imports on Friday. "The Government and farmers together should determine a package of measures in support of the branch and request resources from the EC. The money is needed to provide resource for the autumn sowing and to guarantee the new harvest. Also, the control on the imports of Ukrainian agricultural produce should be increased," said Bulgarian Farmers Union head Georgi Stoyanov.
According to him, the ban on Ukrainian grain imports has not influenced the market in Bulgaria and there still are problems with the sale of local produce, because it is more expensive due to the floods and drought. Also, grain prices remain low on the international markets.
The Bulgarian Farmers Union proposes that Agriculture and Food Minister Kiril Vatev begin talks with the branch. The communication with the Ministry is very difficult and limited, Stoyanov said. Another matter that should be addressed is what he described as the last-minute approach, where the proposal to scrap the ban was made a day ago, and on Thursday it was already put to the vote in Parliament. "There is no dialogue with branch organizations, there is no dialogue on what could happen. We lead a dialogue when a topic is on the agenda, not in advance," Stoyanov noted. In his words, in this case the effect is not economic only and the situation is different. "If we imagine that tomorrow Ukraine becomes an EU member, we lack a mechanism to defend our produce," he argued.
According to him, the Government should have an overall approach to all economic sectors in view of the geopolitical situation and its economic impact. A strategy for protecting Bulgarian producers and consumers should be elaborated, with predictability in production and guaranteed markets while ensuring food security.
Also to be protected are the social interests of producers and rural residents, because loss of markets leads to shrinking of production, personnel cuts and increased depopulation of rural areas. It is important to assess the impact of every political decision, Stoyanov argued. That requires the creation of a system and a structure to identify and manage the risk in agriculture. Also, a financial resource could be provided to guarantee compensation measures for the consequences of risk situations and market crises. A fund for managing crises should be set up to fund the risk management system. Farmers will feel secure knowing that should a crisis arise, they will be protected and have financial resources to prepare for the new harvest.