site.btaUPDATED Day Two of Grain Producers' Protest against Ukrainian Imports
For a second day running, grain producers of the Vidin area (Northwestern Bulgaria) on Thursday blocked the E-79 international road in protest against Ukrainian cereals imports which undercut their produce. More than 80 units of heavy-duty farming machinery, grain producers and farmers joined the national three-day protest, BTA learnt from Zhechko Andreinski, President of the Vidin Grain Producers Union.
The road remained blocked for over 40 minutes, with motor cars and trucks waiting in long lines in both directions.
Andreinski specified that the protests are prompted by a slump in Bulgarian agricultural producers' competitiveness due to the liberalized trade and farm imports from Ukraine, the grave situation in the agriculture sector, and the low market prices of all staple grain and oilseed crops in recent months that do not cover production costs. The farmers do not want money but insist on Bulgaria's exclusion from the extension of the EU regulation waiving customs duties for farm imports originating from Ukraine.
On March 31, the third day of the national protests, the E-79 road will be blocked again in both directions at 10 a.m., Andreinski added.
Grain producers of Breznik, Pernik and Radomir (Southwestern Bulgaria) also staged a protest on Thursday. Pernik police said that some 70 items of machinery took part in the protest procession.
"This protest is long overdue. It is not politically motivated and is prompted by the fact that we do not see a tangible change in the sector either in terms of financing and subsidies or technological renovation," said Ventsislav Mitkov, President of the United Agricultural Producers National Association.