Great unrest in Bulgaria after the ban on importing Ukrainian grain was lifted. Farmers across the country have staged a national protest. The heavy machinery of farmers and at least 20 organizations in the agricultural sector blocked more than 50 points in the country.
Bulgaria is in the midst of unprecedented upheaval in its agricultural industry after a ban on importing Ukrainian grain was lifted. The unrest has spread like wildfire, mobilizing farmers from all corners of the country in a large-scale national protest. The heavy machinery of farmers and at least 20 agricultural sector organizations have blocked more than 50 strategic points throughout the territory, including the crucial main road connecting Burgas and Varna.
Fruit and vegetable growers, as well as beekeepers, have also joined this demonstration of discontent.
Wine producer Martin Penchev expressed his frustration by asking: “Why does our country allow Turkish garbage to enter our market in the form of grapes and be able to crush my prices when I don’t even have subsidies?” This issue has resonated strongly with farmers, who feel their efforts are undermined by unfettered foreign competition.
Protesters did not limit themselves to blocking roads in rural areas; Even in central Bulgaria, they defied police presence and cracked down. Tsanko Tsanev, a livestock farmer, said: “We are protesting against the import of grain, milk, fruits and vegetables. This is a protest of the entire agricultural industry in the country, not just grain producers.” This statement reflects the unity in dissatisfaction that has gripped the Bulgarian agrarian community.
The border crossing with Romania also suffered a blockade imposed by heavy machinery, demonstrating the determination of the farmers in their search for justice. However, what adds salt to the wound is the comment by Bulgarian Prime Minister Nikolai Denkov, who described the farmers as “terrorists”. This comment has further inflamed tempers and has deepened the gap between the government and the agricultural sector.
Nikolai Denkov, in a later statement, tried to defuse the situation by stating: “The protest at the moment seems to be about problems that have already been resolved, or are demands that cannot be resolved in the way they want, because the deadlines set cannot be fulfilled.” However, the response from farmers has been overwhelming: they are demanding not only a stop to imports from Ukraine, but also additional funding from the state to support their industry in times of difficulty.
Protesters from across the country are expected to converge in a large national protest in Sofia next Tuesday, marking another chapter in this fight between the government and Bulgarian farmers seeking fair and equitable treatment in the agricultural market. The situation remains tense and the resolution of this crisis is yet to be determined.
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