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JUNE 10 2009 12:37h

PHOTO: 1000 Tractors Will Block Zagreb

Farmers head towards a protest in Zagreb with their tractors.

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Croatia
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Farmers from the counties: Istria, Sisak-Moslavina, Vukovar-Srijem and from Zagorje are heading to the Ministry of Agriculture.

ZAGREB, CROATIA - On Wednesday around 8am, unhappy with the state of affairs for cattle breeders and in agriculture in general, farmers started their journey to Zagreb with their tractors and cars, in order to protest in front of the Ministry of Agriculture. They are protesting for the poor state of Croatian cattle farming and agriculture, mostly in the milk business, confirmed Stanko Zdravcevic, the secretary of the ZUSSB (Community Association of Peasants of Slavonia and Baranja).

Pixsell-.--.-“People are calling us from Istria, the Sisak-Moslavina County, Vukovar-Srijem County, from Zagorje…  Around 100 tractors are coming only from Djakovo” said Zdravcevic. He added that they passed Nasice at around 8am.

Antun Laslo, the president of ZUSSB, said for Hina that the farmers embarked on their journey later than the announced 7am, because they were asked by the cattle farmers to embark after they have fed their livestock and done other jobs”.

The farmers will protest due to the high price of loans, unpaid subsidies and ignoring their position, because of which, they claim, their existence is threatened.

When asked how the protest will look like, and if the farmers will spill milk in a sign of protest, Zdravcevic said that ‘there will be everything’.

“We will see when we gather in front of the ministry” said the secretary of ZUSSB.

Around 70 farmers-protesters headed from Gudovac near Bjelovar towards Zagreb, who are discontent with the state in agriculture, and amongst other things, are seeking that minister Bozidar Pankretic be axed. Amongst them were members of the Croatian Peasant’s federation, who did not accept the stance of their federation who were against the protest, and said that the poor state in agriculture needs to be solved in talks. Before embarking on their journey, protesters voiced their disagreement with the president of the Croatian Peasant’s Federation, Zeljko Mavrovic, who called for the problems to be solved via talks, and not protests.
Monthly losses of 35-200 thousand kuna

“Due to the wrong politics and no understanding from the responsible ministry, today Croatian milk producers are in a hard situation; one litre of milk should not be less than three kuna, because it costs the manufacturer between 2.30 kuna and 2.50 kuna to produce, and the one with a premium in my example is only 1.98” said the president of ZUSSB, Antun Laslo.

“In these conditions, with this politics from the Ministry of Agriculture towards Croatian milk producers, I operate with a loss of 35,000 kuna a month, and up until now I have been regularly paying my commitments. Other, larger milk producers are now operating with monthly losses of 150,000 to 200,000 kuna” said Laslo.

Milk manufacturers are being hit due to the unlimited import of cheap and low quality milk from Bosnia Herzegovina, which is of unknown quality and origin.

“The protest is a way of voicing out stances, but it is not good that the protest is being headed by people who have pulled millions in subsidies, and who have not been returning loans for a few years, and then they put the write-off of loans as the aim of the protest” commented the president of the HSS (Croatian Peasant’s Party) Josip Friscic.

Take a look at the photo gallery: Tractors Head Towards Zagreb.