Prague – Some farmers in the Czech Republic protested against the subsidy policy of the government and the European Union today. They called for a review of the EU’s agricultural targets and criticized the shift of money towards smaller farmers. The protest took place during an informal meeting of the Union Ministers of Agriculture and Fisheries in Prague. In addition to the capital, farmers also expressed their dissatisfaction in the regions, where they took to the roads with tractors and other agricultural machinery. The Association of Private Agriculture of the Czech Republic disagrees with the protests organized by the Agricultural Union of the Czech Republic and the Agrarian Chamber of the Czech Republic. It mainly brings together small farmers and supports the government’s changes in financing.
Dozens of people took part in a protest this morning in front of the Prague Congress Center, where the meeting of the European Ministers of Agriculture was held. The organizers of the event gave out potatoes and apples to people with the slogan that they might be the last products of Czech agriculture. Martin Pícha from the Agricultural Union of the Czech Republic warned against the threat of a food crisis in the future.
Today in Prague, the Agricultural Union and the Agrarian Chamber presented a joint memorandum signed by 14 agricultural organizations from nine EU states. In addition to setting maximum energy prices, they also demand compensation for high fertilizer prices and other costs from governments and the EU. In the long term, they want more money from the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy because of the union’s environmental ambitions.
Farmers in the regions also joined the protest actions today. “We are bothered by the ever-increasing demands on farmers, the tightening of farming conditions, which lead to a drop in production and an increase in costs,” Tomáš Polcar, chairman of the Mladotice Agricultural Cooperative in Plzeňsk, told ČTK. Therefore, 13 large tractors and mowers with banners drove through the district roads in the vicinity of the regional capital today in protest.
The driving of agricultural machinery on the roads was also protested in the east of Bohemia today. Around 09:00, the farmers set out on ten routes in the districts of Hradec Králové, Jičín, Náchod and Rychnov nad Kněžnou “People noticed us, we made ourselves known,” said Jiří Černý, deputy chairman of the District Agrarian Chamber in Hradec Králové, who one of the tractors he drove.
Dozens of farmers also took to South Moravian roads with agricultural machinery. Somewhere they caused long lines of cars, for example on the busy first class road 43 in Blanensko.
A column of 12 tractors also drove through the center of Olomouc in protest against the current form of European and Czech subsidy policy. Dissatisfied farmers marked the machines with Czech flags and a banner. A tractor with a symbolic black banner drove at the head of the column.
The protesting Czech farmers are annoyed by the policy of the Green Deal for Europe. According to the protesting farmers, the goals of the agreement should be re-evaluated and postponed. At the same time, they are requesting changes in the sale of emission allowances, which, according to farmers, are liquidating.
Since the beginning of the year, they have also been criticizing the change in the subsidy policy for the period between 2023 and 2027. In January, the government decided to transfer a larger part of the money to smaller farmers. The unions claim that the government is taking money from companies that produce most of the food in the Czech Republic.
Above all, small farmers in the Czech Republic are united by the Association of Private Agriculture of the Czech Republic (ASZ ČR), which distanced itself from today’s protests. According to her, the event was organized by order of a narrow group of owners of the largest agricultural enterprises. According to ASZ CR, the government changes agreed with the majority of agricultural organizations will not have negative effects even on large agricultural enterprises. “The current agricultural policy is certainly not ideal in everything, but after many years it has finally stepped in the right direction,” said the association’s leadership.
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