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Farmers gave 65 tons of free vegetables, the strikes continue

06 February 2013 / 17:02:42  GRReporter
2172 reads

Victoria Mindova

Farmers from the region of Attica and Piraeus gave 65 tons of vegetables in less than two hours in front of the Ministry of Rural Development. Hundreds of citizens of the capital flocked to the area of Vathis square to take fresh carrots, broccoli, onions, leeks, celery, cabbage, parsley, potatoes and oranges.

"Our goal is to show in our own way solidarity with the people in the difficult times in which we are living. At the same time, it is a peculiar way to express our discontent with the policy pursued", Panagiotis Loris, who is a member of the federation of producers and vendors in public markets, told GRReporter.

The demands of the farmers from the region of the capital are the same as those of their counterparts in the countryside. They urge the government to reduce their insurance contributions, to remove the excise duty on the fuel used in the production, to reduce the VAT on the products and the overall tax burden on agriculture.

"Greece is an agricultural country and is able to produce much more than it does at present. We want to export our products but imports are actually twice as great as exports. In order to register economic growth, the cost of production of local farmers should be reduced but this will not happen while the government continues to increase the taxes and excise duties", said the producer.

A representative of farmers from Piraeus stated that there were significant differences in the prices of synthetic fertilizers, seeds and other agricultural materials in Greece in comparison with other countries. He gave the example of a type of synthetic fertilizer, which costs 35 euro in Greece and 18 euro in Spain. "While they burden us with such differences, there is no way for the Greek products to become competitive abroad and for exports to really grow", said the farmer.

GRReporter raised the issue to the Ministry of Development and Competitiveness, which gave an evasive answer. The relevant Deputy Minister Athanasios Skorda told our media, "We cannot deny that the cost of production in Greece is a crucial issue and finding a solution to it will enhance the economic development. One of the problems comes from the cost of funding of the production, which has increased by 14% as shown by recent data. Therefore, the recovery of the banking system and the reduction of interest rates on borrowing are essential. As far as the prices of seeds, fertilizers, animal feed and agricultural medicines are concerned I can say that it is a problem addressed by both the Ministry of Rural Development and the supervising authorities".
The government position in terms of the production cost and the tax policy in the agricultural sector seems inadequate to the farmers and they will not give up their active strike actions. Farmers from Serres also held a symbolic protest today. They closed for short the Serres -Thessaloniki and Serres - Promachonas roads by sitting on the connecting highway in protest against the high cost of living in the country.

Farmers from Drama and Kavala closed the road connecting the two cities for less than an hour at two o’clock in the afternoon, and their supporters from Alexandroupolis blocked the bridge to Kipon village near Evros. Thessaly farmers will gather at six o'clock in the centre of Larissa to decide on the future of agricultural protests.

Tags: SocietyFarmersSocial policyStrikesProtestsGreece
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