Serbia’s farmers: Agriculture policy catastrophic; Radicalisation of protests?

NEWS 10.02.2022 14:36
Source: Milena Kuzmanovic/N1

Farmers from Serbia's western and central villages protested on Thursday over their situation caused by the rise in fuel and fertilisers prices and, what they said, insufficient state subsidies, and warned they might radicalise protests.

One of the protesters and organisers of a rally in western Serbia, Branislav Glisic, told N1 he expected a mass gathering, but that the police were present on all access roads. According to his information, there was other pressure on villagers not to show up and support the protest.

„We are not involved in politics; we want to say that this is no longer durable. Fuel prices are rising day by day, the price of artificial fertilisers is never higher, and subsidies per hectare are unacceptable given all these daily price increases,“ Glisic told N1.

He added he cultivated „50 hectares of arable land, this year I have 24 hectares only under wheat. With this price of artificial fertiliser, one euro per kilogram, there is no chance for me to do the necessary feeding of crops.“

Glisic said that despite all the pressures, farmers would continue to fight for a fairer position in society.

Their colleagues from other villages parked tractors at a junction leading to the Belgrade-Nis motorway but did not block it.

They asked the Agriculture Minister to subsidise oil and fertiliser. Otherwise, they said, they would radicalise the protest.

„We are trying to achieve better conditions; the state treats us as second-class citizens. We pay the most expensive fuel in Europe, the price of mineral fertiliser has risen three times, we have the minor subsidies in Europe „, the gathered farmers said.

The farmers announced a protest, symbolically called ‘Eleventh Hour’, in the western town of Sabac at 11:30 am on Saturday.

Their demands are related to what they describe as a catastrophic situation in agriculture.

They said that an awful agricultural policy had been implemented in Serbia for a long time, bringing them to the brink of existence and added that „we will become a food-importing country instead of a producer country“.

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