Powered By Pixels
05 February 2024

Bulgaria’s farmers join Europe-wide protests

05 February 2024

Hundreds of angry farmers took to the streets of Bulgaria’s capital, Sofia, on Monday to complain about what they called “the total failure” of the government to meet the mounting challenges of the agricultural sector.

They called on agriculture minister Kiril Vatev to step down for not keeping his promises to ease the administrative burden on the farming sector, and to seek state compensation for high costs and falling incomes.

Like their colleagues elsewhere in Europe, Bulgarian farmers are frustrated with European Union regulations, the hardships stemming from the surge in fertiliser and energy costs because of Russia’s war in Ukraine, the increasing imports of farm products that are flooding local markets and the undercutting of prices.

Ventsislav Varbanov, who chairs the Association of Agricultural Producers, said the government is adding more burdens instead of seeking some relief for the farmers.

“Let me remind you that our interests were not protected as the Ukrainian goods flooded us,” he said, referring to cheaper products exported from Ukraine, “nor had we budget guarantees for the losses we suffered because of the war in Ukraine.”

Mr Varbanov demanded a long-term government policy: “We want to know what will be in tomorrow, in the next year, in the next five years.”

Meanwhile, the grain producers’ association said its members might join the protests on Tuesday by blocking main roads with their farming vehicles.

The association expressed discontent with a statement from Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov in response to their demands for compensation that only grain producers who can prove a loss for 2023 will receive financial support.

The association wants some form of compensation for all grain producers.

The best videos delivered daily

Watch the stories that matter, right from your inbox